Earlier this week, a friend told Umer Piracha that his new band’s music is “the cure for alienation.”
“I like that,” muses the 31-year-old Philadelphia musician. When we first met Piracha, he was a solo artist with spacious originals sitting alongside covers of Radiohead. His voice soars like Jeff Buckley, his knack for ambience is innate, and recently he’s been expanding his sonic ambition from introspective singer-songwriting to moving, meditative ensemble performances with a group dubbed Falsa.
Rooted in expansive 14th century Sufi classical, Falsa sort of does for the music of Pakistan what Tinariwen does for the music of Mali; places it in a contemporary context, but keeping the traditional sounds and stylings very much in the forefront, asking modern listeners to engage with centuries of musical history. But where Tinariwen goes for the rock club highs, Falsa is decidedly more intimate — the band sees it as chamber music designed to bring people closely together.
They’ll do just that this Saturday, April 29th, when they play J.J. Tiziou’s famed West Philly House Concert series. Below, listen to a live recording of Falsa performing “Aaj Rang Hai” and read my interview with Piracha about the new project. Continue reading →