Texas Platter

Phases and Stages


Republic of Love (Ars Mundi) "We have fallen to a place where everything is music," (Rumi, 13th century). Recent world events may have inspired Republic of Love, but as the quote from the Sufi mystic suggests, when war disrupts the world, thank goodness it's music that emerges from the ruins. And what glorious music it is on the sensational debut from Austin-based world-music masters Atash ("fire" in Farsi). Where to begin? With curvaceous Indian-Middle Eastern melodies that serve as the group's foundation? Addictive percussive rhythms? The delightfully seamless infusion of Western jazz, rock, and classical music traditions, or Mohammad Firoozi's captivating vocals? And don't forget the lyrics. Sung in Farsi (translated into English in the liner notes), they are lyrical love poems to the world: "I read the books of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, slept beneath the tree of Buddha, but still did not find answers. When Love came to rule me, then I became a believer." Profoundly spiritual lyrics and exceptional musicianship sends listeners into a swoon rivaling Neruda. Though singing in Farsi, Firoozi's voice is understandable in any language. Having been trained as a boy to sing azzaan, the Muslim call to prayer, Firoozi's richly seasoned voice rises from tenderness to shimmering ecstasy. Together with accomplished musicians Roberto Riggio, Dylan Jones, John Moon, Jason McKenzie, and Alseny Sylla on violin, viola, tamboura, upright bass, djembe, and percussive instruments from East and West, Republic of Love spirits listeners away to a place where music is bread for the soul.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Sunday ACL Fest 2019 Record Reviews
El Mal Querer (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Oct. 4, 2019

Texas Platters
Atlas Maior
Riptide (Record Review)

Michael Toland, June 14, 2019

More by Belinda Acosta
Margaret Moser Tribute: Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball
“She’s a music writer who writes to enlighten”

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Eliza Gilkyson
Eliza Gilkyson
The best advice she ever received? Keep your dogs clean.

June 30, 2017



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle