Award-winning sitarist and composer Mohamed Assani paints a vivid sonic landscape through captivating rhythms and the intricate plucking of his sitar strings on his second album, “Wayfinder.”
The Vancouver-based musician has spent years pushing past barriers to create innovative and genre-bending music grounded in classical Indian and Hindustani musical tradition. Assani studied Western Classical and World music at Dartington College of Arts in England, after which he honed in on classical sitar and began performing and composing around the world. As a current teacher of Indian Music at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, Mohamed Assani continues to inspire musical innovation in connection with traditional Indian roots to expand the boundaries of World music and teach young people to do the same with creativity and passion.
“Wayfinder,” Assani’s first album since his 2011 debut record “Spirit of Tradition,” is a seven-track journey through many styles of music and moods. Each track serves as a navigational step within the album’s vibrant spirit of musical discovery. “Black Sugar” highlights Assani’s ability to seamlessly blend traditional Indian music with modern hip hop and R&B elements as he layers a dreamy sitar over a hard-hitting rap beat, making the listener want to sink into one’s chair and dance at the same time. Assani heads in a softer direction in “Lullaby For Guli,” which lulls one not quite into sleep, but rather into a contemplative and serene state of being; the leading violin’s melody guides the listener smoothly through the track.
Mohamed Assani compels and captivates on “Wayfinder,” elevating his music to an almost spiritual plane. We will gladly let Assani pave the way for us listeners to embark on this journey with him, our wayfinder.
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