This is the first worldwide release by Argentinian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Alejandro Franov. Franov is one of the key figures of the alternative folk and world music scene of his country, brought to worldwide critical acclaim by singer/songwriter and actress Juana Molina. He collaborated with Juana Molina on three of her albums, Segundo (2000), Tres Cosas (2002) and Son (2006). With Khali, Staubgold is proud to present his first worldwide release, after five solo albums which have only been released in South America and Japan. Khali -- which is mainly based on three instruments -- the African mbira, the Paraguayan harp arpa and the Indian sitar -- is the result of Franov's studies in African and Arabic music, especially the music of the Shona from Zimbabwe. He carefully combines these unique instruments with percussion, voices and minimal electronics in order to create a comfortably floating stream of world music in the purest sense, hardly relating to any certain country or region. On the one hand, Khali is the name of the Croatian island where Franov's grandfather was born; on the other hand, it's taken from the tabla rhythm cycle of Hindustani music, and it's the name of a Hindu goddess. Born in 1972, today Alejandro Franov is one of the most important musicians in Argentina. His unique musical talent has attracted many artists and led to collaborations with Juana Molina, Liliana Herrero, Fernando Kabusacki, Mono Fontana, Santiago Vasquez, Seiichi Yamamoto (Rovo, ex-Boredoms), Yuji Katsui (Rovo), Kama Aina and many more.
Pop Matters Review:
Alejandro Franov is Argentinean. He helps Juana Molina with her albums. On Khali he uses instruments that imitate the flowing sound of water, rain, or rivers. He likes harps, sitars, marimba, kalimba. He also likes African music from the south and west. The two songs that are not credited to Franov himself are described as “the traditional music of Shona, Zimbabwe.” And the harp sounds like a kora. It might even be a kora. The Spanish credits call it an ’arpa‘ with no mention of it being an arpa africana or just a normal arpa. The gamelan has had an impact on him, and so has the raga. He introduces the album with a short “Micerino Alap” on the sitar and goes on from there, rippling and musing and making mbira boings. The music is sometimes monotonous, as rivers can seem monotonous. Things pick up at the end when he brings the natural noises of birds into one of the Shona tracks, thickening the music. He has some of the intercultural instincts and multi-instrumental talent of a Bob Brozman but not the same popularising drive, nor the same need for beats, verses, and choruses. Alejandro Franov is different. He likes to float.