Pakistan Is for the Peaceful

GB 097CD GB 097CD

Following his critically acclaimed debut, God Is Not a Terrorist (GB 067CD/LP, 2019), 49-note scale microtonal vocal master Ustad Saami returns with an epic part two. Pakistan Is for the Peaceful presents an even more immersive work, comprised of just three extended tracks and again produced 100% live at the master's rooftop home in Karachi by Grammy-winner Ian Brennan, with musical accompaniment provided by Ustad's four sons: Rauf (group leader, harmonium, vocals), Urooj (primary response vocalist, tambura number one), Ahmed (tambura number two, vocals), and Azeem (tablas, vocals). Ustad Saami is the last living surti master, a precursor of the ancient Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Despite being under constant threat from Islamic fundamentalists, the master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art -- one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century. The seventh release from Glitterbeat's acclaimed Hidden Musics series.

"At age seventy-six, Ustad still practices from 4 AM to noon most days, drilling himself with exercises. Though his physical hearing has declined and he requires in-ear aids for daily communication, his powers of perception continue to rise. As a child, he was the chosen one from his family and his master forbade him to speak for years. During this period, he was only allowed to express himself vocally, not verbally. He studied for 35 years to perfect this system before he ever even stepped onstage. It was the same trajectory as puff pop-stars, only inverted -- they start performing prematurely and get even more flaccid over time. Instead, Ustad explores the subtlety of human emotion through microtones, an attempt to turn "negatives positive" through the reclamation of those tones deemed out-of-tune. Following Saami's debut album, a World Music expert in Los Angeles was flummoxed that she could not find any reference to the master's system on the internet. Ironically, this absence of reference actually stands as proof rather than refuting his rarity. It cannot be found elsewhere precisely because it is his system -- a customized work of recovery -- with Ustad the only living vocal practitioner." --Ian Brennan