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Ghazalaw: Ghazalaw review – easygoing settings for poems from Wales and India

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(Marvels of the Universe)

Two years on from a remarkable collaboration between Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and African kora exponent Seckou Keita, here is a new fusion project from Wales. This time it’s an experimental vocal collaboration, in which singer Gwyneth Glyn matches settings for Hen Benillion (old anonymous Welsh poems, some dating back to medieval times) against even older ghazal songs from Indian singer Tauseef Akhtar. Ghazals are ancient poems of love and longing that spread from Arabia to India, where they have remained popular thanks to singers such as the gloriously laid-back Akhtar. Here the two singers swap easygoing vocals, backed by a band that includes Indian violin, tabla and guitar, and some fine harp work from Ruth Williams. There are times when this pleasantly accessible fusion is so relaxed that it could be used as background music, but I suspect it could become an unexpected commercial success. 

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