26/01/2023The Ghent-Based Jiraan Ensemble Unveils Debut LP Exploring Musical Traditions And Novel Sounds

This year, we vowed to take our time, to be more mindful in an attempt to experience and appreciate every moment the universe bestows upon us. Just like this debut album of the Ghent-based musical collective Jiraan. Founded in 2016 and led by Syrian/Belgian violinist and composer Shalan Alhamwy, the Jiraan Ensemble includes "musicians from a broad spectrum of musical worlds. Together, they explore the common ground between musical traditions and create a novel intercultural sound that transcends established notions of style and convention," their mission statement reads. 

Speaking the universal language of music, the 12 musicians from different backgrounds blend melodies from East and West with subtle virtuosity and heartfelt improvisation. Combining a string and a rhythm section with woodwinds and traditional instruments like the ney, oud, kanun, kemenche and duduk and, not to forget, vocals, "individual cultures melt away and a feeling of camaradery emerges" from within their "non-hierarchical social microcosm." Or in other words: music that "rises above borders, politics and ideologies."

Jiraan's debut full-length "Sirto" (or 'Syrtos', which is an instrumental form of music played in Greek, Turkish and Arabic music traditions) comprises 12 classical tracks with an audible oriental touch and jazzy hues, both appeasing and invigorating, depending on the song. You can stream the full release below. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom