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Iris consists of two original compositions and two arrangements of traditional material by Daly, plus one composition by guitarist Vasilis Rakopoulos. Each of the pieces is tightly constructed and very strong melodically, an aspect of the CD that is underscored by Yiorgos Xylouris’ vocals. At the same time Iris is an exercise in texture that features highly unusual combinations of instruments; these include the Iranian long-necked lute called tar, the Afghan rabab, the Cretan lyra, the sarangi, the tabla and the guitar amongst many others. The guitar is especially interesting, with the use of chordal harmony making its first extended appearance on a Daly album, and Rakopoulos’s final track is a deeply seductive blend of Western and Eastern styles. One instrument that deserves special mention is Hamid Khabbazi’s tar, which, for me, provides the sonic thread that links each piece. Khabbazi is a subtle and intelligent player, who achieves a universe of expression in his right-hand pick articulations alone, let alone with his gift for melodic improvisation and embellishment.Wonderful music!

Enjoy!

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