Kamran Hooshmand & Javier Palacios

Ojalá (Pardiso)

Record Reviews

KAMRAN HOOSHMAND & JAVIER PALACIOS

Ojalá (Pardiso)

"Ojalá" is a Spanish term that means "God grant," and is based on the Arabic word "Inshallah," meaning the same. As a title, Ojalá refers to a new album by two veteran local musicians, Mexican-born Javier Palacios, a member of Austin's Latin-American music scene since 1986, playing in Grupo Centzontle and Cerronato, and Iranian-born Kamran Hooshmand, the man behind the 1001 Nights Orchestra. Historically, the Middle Eastern and Spanish worlds come together at the Straits of Gibraltar, where Spain meets Morocco, and where Europe meets North Africa. Using this blend as a point of departure for their collaboration, Palacios and Hooshmand offer up a tantalizing plate of love folk songs, sung in both Spanish and Persian, oftentimes within the same tune. The music is mid-tempoed, acoustic and warm, as in opener "Crazy Heart," which pairs a Gypsy violin with flamenco percussion. On "The Nightingales," Palacios' Spanish singing sounds perfect over Hooshmand's plucked melodies on the oud, the Arabic lute and precursor to the guitar. Throughout, Palacios' voice is strong and clear, and Hooshmand's playing has never been better, proof positive being their stately duet "The Dove." While historically based, these songs are far from dusty; instead the 11 compositions herein are delivered with the emotional intensity and sensitivity they deserve. Taking more than a year to record both in the U.S. and Iran, and presented via a breathy and live-sounding recording, Ojalá is definitely a sign of God's wishes. (Wednesday, March 14, Ruta Maya, 10pm)

***.5

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