Mirror of Emotions
(International Amity, 2001)

The violin, in my opinion, has more power to touch the heart than music created from any other instrument. When I think of violinists whose talents have the ability to flood me with emotion, I think of Hugh Marsh (one of Loreena McKennitt's Idling Porsches) and Karen Briggs (from Yanni's band). I have now been introduced to another master who knows how to conjure magic with his bow. I am talking about Farzad.

Farzad Khozein has released a must-have CD with Mirror of Emotions. It contains 10 melodic tunes that will bring the listener on a journey of highs and lows. This journey will cover several continents as Farzad explores styles ranging from Persian to Latin to Western classical laced with a new-age sound.

Farzad was born in Tehran, Iran. By age 18, he was forced to flee when members of his family were persecuted, according to the promotional material, for believing in the Baha'i faith. Consequently, Farzad has lived in Africa, South America and, for most of his life, the United States (where he received his college education).

Farzad began taking violin lessons at age 6. His teacher was his uncle, Rahmatolla'h Badiyi, who is "one of the most renowned classical violin and kama'ncheh (like a small Persian cello) players in Iranian history." Farzad was composing music by the second grade. He tends to focus on the harmony in a piece. When he hears the melody, he immediately starts to work around it.

One of the better selections on Mirror of Emotions is "Flight of the Lovers." This tune starts off slow and melancholic. The intro is followed by a frenzied pace that magnificently translates the visual of fleeing lovers into music. The violin playing is almost harsh in that the piece is supposed to imply a rushed feeling. I can't help but close my eyes and let the sound waves wash over me. This is very powerful music.

The three Latin inspired tracks are also excellent. Farzad composed "La Da'diva (The Gift)," which he calls his "interpretation of cha-cha and Bossa Nova rhythms." His producer, Louie Shelton, wrote the next two pieces, "Santa Fe Nights" and "Fiesta." The latter is certainly the most upbeat selection on the CD.

The music is brought to life, not just by Farzad, but by those who back him up. Shelton, who has released several albums of his own, contributes acoustic and electric guitar. There is also Craig Nelson (bass), Tommy Wells (drums) and an uncredited keyboardist.

I think any lover of the violin is doing themselves a great disservice if they do not at least take a moment to listen to some of this music. Farzad's music is beautiful and complex, and it reaches beyond borders in a way the spoken word cannot.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 21 December 2002

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