Album review: Kevin Seddiki and Bijan Chemirani: Imaginarium (2013)

Kevin Seddiki and Bijan ChemiraniYou may well be captivated by a few words on the sleeve notes of the album Imaginarium by Kevin Seddiki and Bijan Chemirani:

“Kevin Seddiki and Bijan Chemirani may not share the same parents, but they belong to the same family of roaming musicians, with no fixed abode, who have cast off those things that tie us down to one place.  Always looking to connect with others, they know that when the time comes to leave one another, they will always meet up again.”

You will instantly connect with this beautiful album by guitarist Kevin Seddiki and percussionist Bijan Chemirani.  These are troubadours with pedigree.  Seddiki has played with Al di Meola, bandoneonist Dinu Saluzzi and won the prestigious European Guitar Award in Dresden in 2009.  Chemirani comes from a family of outstanding percussionists and singers from Iran (who settled in France in the 1960s).  They have worked together since 2007, starting with a project called Oneira (a dream) in which each artist combined tradition with their own backgrounds and travels.

So perhaps it was inevitable that this new project would build on that experience –  the title Imaginarium gives you a clue – here are exotic places, sunlit coasts, romantic train journeys, planets, tragic operas. You are free to roam in your mind, transported by the most delicate sounds and rhythms that are half familiar if you have ever travelled in North Africa,  the Middle East or West Africa. Here are stringed and percussion instruments with wonderful names like zarb, udu, daff and saz and equally gorgeously heady sounds and trance-like rhythms which rise, fall and move with the sinuous grace of a dancer.  Their shared background in classical music and open minded embrace of other traditions, gently mixed with some subtle electronics,  makes for a rich combination –  like a persian rug or medieval tapestry. They deserve to be better known in the UK for their supreme artistry on interesting instruments, their glorious melodies and the sheer joy they exhibit in their performance – it is captivating and absorbing.

This is a deeply satisfying, dazzling and quite magical experience, and not just for dreaming.  You will want to go travelling…

  •  Kevin Seddiki, classical, folk and 12 string guitars, zarb and percussion
  • Bijan Chemirani, zarb, udu, daff, saz and other percussion
  • Kevin Seddiki
  • Bijan Chemirani


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