Nava: Toranj – Rich weaving of Irish, Persian and Middle Eastern influences

NAVAToranjIndependent Release4

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Artist: Nava
Genre: World Music
Label: Independent Release

Three albums in and this Persian/Irish four-piece band have taken flight. The album title is Farsi for the central point of a Persian rug’s design, where the patterns all meet, and it’s a fitting reference from a band who meld Irish, Persian and Middle Eastern influences with an elegance that belies an acutely refined musicianship.

This is music born of the pandemic, and it’s obvious that space and time are woven into its core. The band’s choice of instruments has expanded beyond the traditional Persian tombak, tar and santoor to embrace clarinet, saxophone, electric bass and telecaster banjo, and gorgeous guest contributions from Kate Ellis on cello and Tony Byrne on guitar. Shahab Coohe’s santoor is the central point of reference threaded throughout.

Spacious and pensive

Alongside an inventive jazz interpretation of O'Farrell's jig, there are shimmering echoes of Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden's Beyond the Missouri sky to be heard in Pastoral and Indian Summer, both spacious and pensive in their own ways. Great music has a timelessness at its heart and Toranj is all about freedom in its many guises: temporal, melodic and geographic.

Nava are at their best on their slow tunes, where each musician’s contribution can be savoured, but Toranj is a stunning snapshot of the band on a hugely impressive upward trajectory. Catching them live is a must, as these tunes will surely glisten in the heat of live performance.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts