Music - NAVÁ - Traditional Irish Persian Masterclass.
This unmissable fusion of Traditional Irish/Persian music is, simply put - a masterclass in cultural collaboration. The four piece Dublin based outfit is made up of two Irish men (Niall Hughes + Paddy Kiernan) and two Iranian brothers (Sahab Coohe + Shayan Coohe) who, when combined, create some of the most fascinating music one could ever hope to hear.
When I first sat down and listened to Navá there were two things in particular that struck me and, because the musical standard is so damn high, these things made me feel, as a drummer, that I was nothing more than a silly boy who beats on cardboard boxes for a living whilst drooling from the side of his mouth…(oh well, can’t win them all I suppose) - The first thing that struck me was the band’s extensive musical vocabulary on an assortment of instruments, a trait common among all trad players it seems. The second was the band’s collective knowledge of both Irish and Iranian traditional music. Knowledge so broad and endless it seems to stretch itself down into the roots of their DNA. In a flash they can summon it to the surface and display it. Navá are very impressive from the word go.
The lads, as they play together (particularly in their song “Hess”) seem to share this blissful dialogue with one another through their eclectic mix of instruments which primarily include a guitar, a santoor, a banjo and a tar (+ tombak) - a powerful configuration of tools by the way if you haven’t heard such a hybrid before, simply made to please both the ears and soul. Terrific listeners, the lads place just as much emphasis on the notes they don’t play as well as the notes they do, which in my opinion is becoming a rare skill these days as some folks approach their instrument with sometimes opposing and unsavoury ideas.
But what’s arguably even more evident than the music is the ‘clear as day’ respect each man has in droves for the other. You can hear it in the songs. You can feel it too. It is vulnerable yet, at the same time, is non apologetic, as it hums about and through the space, bouncing sweetly off of the strings, nestling itself whenever it can deep within the drum while forever living cautiously at the ready on the tips of their fingers.
You see with Navá you’re not just getting music - no no -it’s much more than that. You are getting a detailed glimpse into what maybe could be a perfect setup. Niall, Sahab, Paddy and Shayan have set the artistic bar high here with what they do. Definitely. Not only are they reminding us of what it means to be an artist but they are also re-igniting our hope in the power of community, showing us through their music what it really means to be a person, a friend, an artist, a musician, a brother in arms. THIS is what it is. THIS is the way it should be. Since Navá's conception they have become, almost unbeknownst to themselves, some of the finest ambassadors for the arts here in Ireland. We should pay close attention to the noise these boys make. We may just learn a thing or two.
Navá’s debut album “Tapestry” is now available on their website (www.navatheband.com) I suggest you have a listen folks.
You’ll see what I mean.