“World Music” as a genre label is, despite the grandiose name, usually diminutive. Its use as a catch-all for everything that doesn’t neatly fit into generic Western classifications reduces diverse traditions down to an overgeneralized and overstuffed bin. It reinforces a dichotomic relationship between “The West” and “The World,” continuing a long history of chauvinism, and the music suffers for it. But when might this title be appropriate?
An ambitious affair, The Voices and Bridges (released July 16, 2021 on Bright Shiny Things), is an eclectic set of tracks unified in purpose. With music composed by Ehsan Matoori and lead vocals by Alireza Ghorbani, the album is a collection of pieces in a multitude of languages (Persian, Spanish, Arabic, English, Turkish, Urdu, Kashmiri and French)