After forming in 2002, Berlin-based Cyminology has been exploring the rich musical territory bound by the backgrounds of members Cymin Samawatie, pianist Benedikt Jahnel
, drummer Ketan Bhatti and bassist Ralf Schwarz. Holding the foursome's unique tapestry of styles together is Samawatie's vocal and compositional work, built around classical Persian poetry, as well as her own writing.
The band began forging its sound after Samawatie started exploring her Iranian musical heritage. Moved by the power of the Persian music and poetry, Samawatie discovered new directions to pursue in her melodies. The elemental sounds of her Farsi lyrics, combined with the band's grounding in modern jazz styles, led to recognition and a host of awards for Cyminology, including winning the Jazz and Blues Award Berlin in 2004 and 2006, and the New Generation international jazz competition in 2003.
Now signed with ECM, As Ney delves further into the soundscapes Samawatie has written for the poems of Rumi, Hafiz and Forough Farrokhzad.
AAJ Contributor John Patten spoke with Samawatie about the evolution of the band, the differences recording with ECM's Manfred Eicher, and the roots of inspiration in his enlightening interview, Cyminology: Exploring New Compositional Frontiers, up at AAJ today.
You can also read John Kelman's review of As Ney.
Check out AAJ's coverage of this remarkable multicultural group today!