Boomkat Product Review:
Mesmerising Ghazals by feted Afghan singer Nashenas, drawn from rare recordings that survived both the Soviet invasion of the ‘80s and later the Taliban.
Born Sadiq Fitrab Habibi in Kandahar, 1935, Nashenas is widely recognised as the most famous and oldest Pashtun musician from Afghanistan. Recording since the ‘50s, his music is prized both at home and by the Afghan diaspora in both Pakistan and the West, despite attempts to erase it by successive waves of Soviets and the Taliban, thanks to tape sharers and even the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who released his ‘Afghanistan Nashenas’ tape in 1991.
‘Life Is a Heavy Burden: Ghazals & Poetry From Afghanistan’ highlights a gorgeous selection of Nashenas’ lilting style for anyone in need of a spiritual upgrade, revolving around ten hauntingly self-contained examples of the Ghazal format; a short poem consisting of rhyming couplets, traditionally dealing with subjects of melancholy, romance, and love, that finds its roots in a style of c.7th Arabic poetry, and was spread throughout south and central Asia by Sufi mystics.
Backed by percussion and (as yet unidentified) microtonal instrumentation, the passion of Nashenas’ delivery is unmistakeable and incredibly haunting, transcendent.