The Wind is Kalhor's second musical journey outside of his native land, this time to Turkey to meet and learn from the premier baglama (saz) master, Erdal Erzincan. Kalhor plays kamanche (Iranian spike fiddle), which is usually bowed, and thus contrasts with the plucked sounds of both the sitar and oud-like baglama.Made up of twelve unnamed "Parts" that run into each other, The Wind is really one long improvisation that rises and falls, inhales and exhales as Kalhor and Erzincan become one musician with one mind.
On their 2000 release, the Kronos Quartet has appeared with an album worthy of their name. On Caravan, the quartet uses songs from the world round, with all of them rearranged as needed to fit a string quartet. There are compositions from Yugoslavia ("Pannonia Boundless"), Portugal ("Cancao Verdes Anos" and "Romance No. 1"), India ("Aaj Ki Raat"), Mexico ("La Muerte Chiquita"), Turkey ("Turceasca"), Romania, Hungary, Iran, Lebanon, and Argentina. There are guest artists left and right on the album: Hindustani tabla great Zakir Hussain aids on the Bollywood work "Aaj Ki Raat" (Tonight's the Night).
Bijan Chemirani is interested in mythical musical spaces. On Gulistan, Chemirani explores a place where Greek, Persian and Azerbaijani music meet. A gulistan is a rose garden, the classic metaphor for the source of inspiration for poets and musicians. The album is full of spirited tempo and fiery instrumental conversations between fiddles and percussion. These are Middle Eastern fiddles, kamanchehs, kemences and rebecs. In the Persian musical tradition, the kamancheh is thought to be the world's original fiddle.
Continuing their explorations on Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble go even deeper into cross-cultural studies on this 2005 soundtrack album. Produced for a 10-part series on Japan's NHK television network, the CD's 15 tracks are arranged in three suites, entitled Enchantment, Origins, and New Beginnings, more reflective of inherent musical affinities than of the way the music was used in the program. The musicians tap into the variously overlapping musical styles of lands stretching from China and India to Iran and Turkey, and the arrangements by Zhao Jiping and Zhao Lin include a mix of instruments from around the world, to add greater color and sonic dimensions. The album's exotic and meditative qualities may attract fans of both international and new age music, though there is perhaps little crossover appeal for Ma's classical devotees.