The creative spark that makes Shabaz such an intriguing musical proposition is generated by Sukhawat Ali Khan, his sister Riffat Salamat, and Richard Michos.

The creative spark that makes Shabaz such an intriguing musical proposition is generated by Sukhawat Ali Khan, his sister Riffat Salamat, and Richard Michos. Sukhawat and Riffat are the living embodiment of a Qaawali family tradition that dates back to the 16th century. Michos' musical connection may not reach back that far, but the breadth of his interests is equally impressive. On its Mondo Rhythmica debut, the act has fashioned a compelling intermingling of Qaawali singing, Indian traditions, and industrial-strength dance beats, resulting in one of the most notable Asian underground titles of the year. The distinctive sound is a lyrical Qaawali/techno-vibe hybrid, typified by such tracks as the groove-rich "Chhalia," "Jewleh Lal," and "Raga." When the bandmates move away from this sound, it's for something more free-form, like "Queenie's Jam" or the darker shadings of "Bhoal."—PVV

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