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The Songs of Hafiz

A musical experience preserved on CD.
Performed by James R. Newell

       "[James R. Newell's] ...musical inventiveness is graceful and inspired. He enters into the seriousness of Sufi spirituality, bringing with him an undeniably American directness that gives up none of its own individuality. If you know the Persian originals, you will recognize these, with a sense of aesthetic shock, as quintessential and beautiful. If you hear them for the first time in English, you will hear a damn good song." 
Carl W. Ernst, author, Sufism: An Introduction to the Mystical Tradition of Islam

James R. Newell is an accomplished musician, performer, and blues singer who has appeared with many of the all-time great blues artists including John Lee Hooker, Jr. Wells, original Kansas City blues shouter 'Big' Joe Turner, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and others. James' treatment of the poetry of Hafiz brings a solid barroom feel to the Sufi tavern of the great Persian poet. Click on one of the sound files below for samples from The Songs of Hafiz.

Blue Sadhana presents a unique collection of songs in the World/Folk style, featuring talented singer songwriter James R. Newell. James has skillfully adapted the lyric poetry of 14th century Persian Sufi Poet Hafiz of Shiraz to American folk music idioms. He has created an eclectic blend of world and folk melodies which effectively make available the classic beauty of Hafiz's lyrics to the modern, English speaking listener. In particular, his feel for American blues music evokes the ambiance of the traditional Sufi tavern, adding a sense of mystery to the classic Persian themes of lover and beloved, the wine of Divine intoxication, and the torturous path of love. 

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