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Album Review: Sandaraa 'Sandaraa'

Much of what passes as “world music” nowadays consists of inapt, ill-considered fusions of elements that don’t mix well. The genius of Sandaraa is in working from the tonal affinities of music whose origins look distant on the map but share common age-old cultural crosscurrents. At the group’s core is the duo of Pakistani pop star Zeb Bangash and Brooklyn clarinetist Michael Winograd. The folk music of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border blends easily with klezmer; the classical training and jazz background of some of the players provides support without intrusion. Bangash’s passionate, melismatic and highly articulate wail is the music’s center of gravity.