The ethereal glow of Golnar Shahyar’s voice immediately lights up Dar Lahze, the debut album from Sehrang. Featuring vocalist Shahyar, guitarist Mahan Mirarab, and percussionist Shayan Fathi, Sehrang (which means “tri-colored” in Farsi) is a trio of Iranians whose compositions unite jazz with world and Persian folk music. It’s an exotic mix, one that transcends geographical and language barriers, producing an album that is unique and endlessly fascinating.
For those who haven’t looked beyond American borders to see how jazz is interpreted in other nations Dar Lahze will be an enlightening experience. Free from any commercial constraints, Sehrang roam through various styles and tones; every track has its own personality and individual quirks. On the compelling “Amvaje Darya,” Shahyar is at her most angelic, reaching the dreamy heights of the Cocteau Twins and the late Ofra Haza. Mirarab offers a slinky guitar groove that climaxes with cinematic, brittle acoustic riffs while Fathi’s minimalist percussion adds atmosphere and tension.
One of the best tracks on the record is “Mosafer,” which captures the finest moments from Shahyar and Mirarab. The song opens up with a slightly darker undertow; Mirarab’s playing with the shadows here, and it fuels the imagination with black-and-white film-noir imagery. Shahyar’s singing takes a mysterious turn, blending smoothly with Mirarab’s crystalline riffing. As the tempo picks up with explosive energy, it leaves the listener breathless. Most of Dar Lahze has that kind of effect; it’s a real treasure.