For this writer at least, the best album of last year was from a 75 year old Pakastaini singer delivering his debut album. Ustad Saami is the only exponent left in the world of the ancient khayál tradition, that is considered the precursor to Qawwali music. Whilst the music is incredibly powerful and dramatic, Saami’s remarkable vocal control over his 49 note Surti scale is simply astounding. The album God Is Not A Terrorist (Glitterbeat) felt like it was purifying your soul, we said “it’s amongst some of the most powerful music you will ever hear. There’s a purity and intensity, anguish and joy in Saami’s plaintive wails.” You can read the full review here, and also checkout an interview with his producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Zomba Prison Project) here, who recorded the album at his home in Karachi. To make the experience complete Saami even visited Australia as part of this year’s Womadelaide festival, with two very special performances that had us pinching ourselves. You can read our Womadelaide review here.
At the time Brennan mentioned that there was a mountain of material, mentioning that some pieces would take up an entire album.His new album, Pakistan Is for the Peaceful has just been announced by Glitterbeat with the video above and the relatively short piece ‘True Notes (“Happy Morning”).’ Again its remarkable, soulful music, and the effect on the listener is instantaneous as you fall deeply into the music. His hearing might be failing, and he is less likely to continue to travel to the other side of the world but Glitterbeat are sitting on a real treasure trove and we’re incredibly thankful that they’re slowly releasing it to the world. We hope you are too.
You can preorder Pakistan Is for the Peaceful here.