I love being able to take a trip through La-La Land without even leaving my room.
That’s what listening to Qais Essar’s newest album Tavern of Ruin felt like. A journey throughout space and time that felt nostalgic but also fresh. Parts of it felt bittersweet, moving me close to tears, (specifically the second track titled Flame Eterne) while others felt like dawn…that part of the day when the sunlight barely breaks through over the horizon and everything is soft. At some points I felt like I could be in Woodstock while others felt authentically Afghan – sounds that my ancestors made. If you’ve ever listened to Devendra Banhart, then listening to Tavern of Ruin will be very enjoyable.
That’s what I think is my favorite thing about Tavern of Ruin. Qais has mastered bringing Western and Eastern vibes together. But while it has a modern and contemporary feel, the rubab reminds me that I am listening to the magic of someone who is from home. The album is centered on Qais’ amazing talent of playing Afghanistan’s traditional instrument, but the insertion of Western music is an ode to Qais’ duality. Being Afghan-American has allowed Qais to bridge the gap between his worlds, making this album truly enjoyable for anyone.
I can imagine listening to this while meditating, driving down Pacific Coast Highway, or even plugging in my ear phones and letting it lullaby me to sleep….