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Najma: Pukar (Calling You)

The Anglo-Indo vocalist known as Najma is a beguiling young singer who, as an Indian raised in England, seems ideally suited to the task of making sense of the east-west merger. Maybe you heard her with the Robert Plant/Jimmy Page project, but do tune in. With her fine album, Pukar (Calling You) (Mondo Melodia 61868; 47:02), she manages to give crossover a chance, and a hope: her sweet and nimble voice treats the romantic Indian song tradition of ghazals, ornamented by tabla and subtle electronic sprinklings. It all goes down with poetic ease.

This is part of the first batch of releases on the new Mondo Melodia label, under the aegis of Miles Copeland, with a stated agenda of focusing on world music of melodic rather than rhythmic emphasis. The other two titles in this kick-off series are Greek singer Haris Alexiou’s Di Efchon, and the Corsican group I Muvrini’s album A Bercy. The world can always stand another world music label of integrity, and ideas.

Originally Published