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Album Review: Zindagi
Michelle Qureshi
Cover image of the album Zindagi by Michelle Qureshi
Michelle Qureshi
2024 / Music As Metaphor
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Zindagi is the fifteenth album by Michelle Qureshi since her 2012 debut, Of Light. I have reviewed three of the six singles that were released prior to the full album and have been more than intrigued by the music. Michelle is a classically-trained guitarist who is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer, and she composed, performed and produced all of the music on the album. Instrumentation includes acoustic guitar (both strummed and bowed), synths, keyboard, electric guitar, singing bowls, chimes, harmonica, bells and theremin. Some of the ten pieces are melodic and some are much more ambient, giving the album quite a variety of sounds from track to track. Essentially, the album title, Zindagi, comes from a Persian word that means "life" in several South Asian languages, and the music explores Michelle's love of music and of life itself.

Michelle Qureshi has won many awards for her music which has been streamed tens of millions of times on global platforms. She combines her formal training with intuitive and improvisational elements, and performs as both a solo guitarist and a presenter of sound experiences. Her Harmonic Sound Immersion™ is a transformative sound meditation created with the healing vibrations of ancient and modern instruments. Michelle describes the experience as a kind of horizontal concert. Michelle is also a Reiki Master, a practicing yogi, a student of both Shamanism and Active Dreaming, and a meditator, all of which have a strong influence on her music and contribute to her unique sound and style.

Zindagi begins with "Being Seen," a shimmering ambient piece for acoustic guitars and synths. it's interesting how the ethereal synth sounds feel much more grounded when the guitars enter. "Eternal Loveliness" is performed with synths and synth drums, a relatively simple piece with a light, gentle sparkle. "Ley Lines" are invisible straight lines that crisscross around the globe, connecting prominent landmarks and historical structures. Some theorists believe that these lines channel Earth's mystical power and were the trade routes of prehistoric people. On this piece, Michelle plays acoustic guitar, bowed acoustic guitar and synths - very ambient and spiritual as well as colorful and mysterious. "Rise" is performed with Koshi chimes, singing bowls and synthesizers along with the sounds of water flowing and birds chirping. Very ambient and more than a little hypnotic, the waves of peaceful sound take us to a place free of noise and chaos - for a few minutes, anyway! "Of the Day" varies from very ethereal and ambient to livelier and more rhythmic to a hard-driving beat and back again. It's a very colorful and expressive piece that goes through a lot of changes without feeling at all fragmented. "Tin Shadows" features acoustic guitars, bells and synths and is bright and lively despite being quite ambient. "Lovely Lies" goes much darker and more mysterious with electric guitar and synths. The very peaceful and ethereal "Like a Dream" is performed with acoustic guitar in the lead with synth washes of sound adding soothing colors and atmosphere. "Faith" feels very quietly profound - strong and resilient yet unwavering. It is also performed with acoustic guitar and synths. "We Walked Until Dark" brings in a full ensemble (of one!) of acoustic guitars, keyboard, harmonica, bells, synths and theremin. Very light, joyful and carefree, it's a fascinating close to an excellent album.

Zindagi is available from Amazon and Apple as well as streaming sites including Spotify. Both thumbs up!
May 21, 2024
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