Music Monday: Vas & Azam Ali

November is always a month for discovering new music (or rediscovering old, forgotten music); NaNoWriMo needs a lot of deliberate sound to block out noise, and either lots of favourite bands will choose around that time of year to release new works, or Last.fm will surpass itself in its suggestions. This year was of the latter kind, so the next few weeks are going to be dedicated to the artists I was introduced to, and under whose influence my latest venture was written.

Azam Ali is an Iranian singer and songwriter; Vas is her project of collaboration with American percussionist Greg Ellis. It is not a band as the word is commonly understood. They brought out four hypnotically beautiful albums between 1997 and 2004, and, although both Ali and Ellis have been involved in other projects, solo or teamwork, there is no reason to believe they will never record together again. Interestingly, Vas is more pronounced in its Oriental style than Ali’s solo work: her first album, Portals of Grace (2002), includes almost exclusively European songs of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, while the following ones paint her as a less electronic, more vocally secure Natacha Atlas. She’s another artist I’d love to see perform live.

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Month at a Glance

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