The Levins,
My Friend Hafiz
(independent, 2009)

If you're looking for music to soothe your spirit and lift your soul, this album would be a good choice.

The artfully blended voices of Ira Levin and his wife Julia Bordenaro Levin are the perfect vehicle for translating the uplifting poetry of the Sufi master Hafiz for modern listeners. There's magic, beauty and wisdom in these lyrics, and the accompanying instruments support rather than overpower them.

The lyrics exude love, compassion and brotherhood without being syrupy or simplistic.

Hafiz was a 14th-century mystic whose poetry inspires joy and promotes peace within the individual and with others, regardless of faith or ethnicity. His poetry has been widely translated. David Ladinsky translated and published a modern collection titled The Gift in 1999. When Ira Levin received a copy for his birthday in 2005 he was inspired to begin composing songs and music based on the poetry. This album is the result.

The singers are supported by an ensemble including Aharon Wheels Bolsta, T. Hallenbeck, Elizabeth Stuart, Ian Kay Shields, Dina Macabee and Payamj Agheli combining an array of traditional and ethnic instruments.

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
John R. Lindermuth

24 April 2010

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