Ariana Delawari‘s psychedelic folk is epic. Her voluble wail is filled with power and vibrato that’s rarely matched. The only voice that comes close to possessing the strength of Delawari’s is perhaps that of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). There’s a lot of passion behind “San Francisco” that keeps the song unquestionably fresh, and it’s a sound that populates her debut LP, Lion of Panjshir.
Delawari’s mark was made between Los Angeles and Kabul, Afghanistan. Ariana mixes a common sound — consistent vocal pattern backed by folk-rock guitar and fierce percussion — with sounds more familiar to her Afghan heritage. The sounds created are astonishingly brilliant, from “San Francisco” to the heartfelt psychedelic noise in “Be Gone Taliban”.
The process in which Delawari recorded Lion of Panjshir is fit for legend. Recorded in her parents’ home under protection by two armed guards (weapon of choice: AK-47), the press release goes on to describe the threat people like Delawari experience under such ruthless rule:
They collaborated with three Afghan Ustads: a tabla player, a rabab player, and an 88-year-old dilruba player, the last living master of his instrument. Under previous Taliban rule these talented musicians had once dismantled and hid their instruments due to a ban on music.
Add to it the fact that the album was mixed by David Lynch (who also produced “Suspend Me”), and you can consider your mind blown.
Lion of Panjshir is out now, but before you rush out and pick up a copy, know that Manimal Vinyl will be giving it wax treatment this spring. If you’re like me, you’ll know it’s worth the wait.
Also, here are some items you won’t want to miss… see Ariana discuss her new album, and catch this David Lynch directed promo for Lion of Panjshir.