Geoffrey Armes | Noor

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Noor

by Geoffrey Armes

"A unique mix of acoustic folk, middle eastern melodies, jazzy vibes, world percussion and ethereal vocals.” -- Tony Fletcher, ijamming.net
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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1. Take Me Up
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3:30 $0.99
2. Yasmeen
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8:37 $0.99
3. Child
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2:52 $0.99
4. Anima Camera
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7:14 $0.99
5. Noor
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9:19 $0.99
6. After Dark
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10:56 $0.99
7. Witness
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7:43 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Noor Inayat Khan, Sufi Princess, daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Children's Book Author, Musician, Allied Spy, died in Dachau September 13th, 1944, 29 years old. The more I learned about her, the more I read her father's words, the more fascinated I became. The music recorded on this CD is an expression of that.

Discovering the life – and death - of Noor Inayat Khan, especially in the context of her father’s writing and work (Sufi musician, writer, philosopher Hazrat Inayat Khan) was something of a call to action. Here was a woman in possession of ‘spiritual’ content or inner reality, who had grown up in a tradition of beautiful words and music, who voluntarily thrust herself into the middle of Europe’s coarsest mayhem of the 20th Century. Did she know what she was in for? Probably not, yet she knew she was in for ‘something’ and that ‘something’ was accepted as ‘destiny’ (as opposed to ‘fate’) that had to be lived, indeed endured, or she would have failed her inner injunction. I realised that no one had as yet addressed her inner story, and the questions it raised. For example, was this sense of ‘inner destiny’ real, or was she a headstrong girl out to prove herself in some way? Maybe a bit of both, that’s often how it is, right? How was it for her when held in solitary by the Gestapo, meaning, did she waver? Externally she didn’t, she died without her captors even knowing her true name, but even Jesus cried out on the cross. Did her father’s words, and the inner work she had done truly sustain her? Even more esoterically, in the sense of Islam, if she was truly surrendered to what was being asked of her, if this was her contribution, her ‘work’ as it were, to be held this way, to die in Dachau, what was that for? What did she gain, what did her family gain, what did the world gain, what did humanity gain?

So there I was with all this emotional response, and awareness that these questions weren’t really addressed by her biographer, or the websites that talked about her, including, understandably, the family’s (active Sufis all). What does a composer/poet/musician do with this response — he puts it into sound and lyrics. The initial piece ‘Noor’, now the core of the CD, wasn’t enough, and I worked on, and as I did so—and this is presumptuous—I felt that I was doing some serious inner work – for myself (obviously), but I also felt this connection to her family. At a certain moment I contacted them, and asked for permission to use her photo in the sleeve art, which was granted (by Hidayat, her younger brother), and this I took as at least tacit approval of what I was doing. The channel grew, and through it came a lot of music, although ‘channel’ implies a kind of ease of creation that wasn’t strictly the case; at times it was more like deep mining, hewing of sound into recognisable form. And once it was done, I was suddenly void of content, as if the force I’d been given to do the work, a kind of baraka if you like, was taken from me. I was listless; rudderless for a month at least, once recording was completed"

This CD contains 7 tracks (over 50 minutes) of original music, and includes an 8 page booklet containing song lyrics, notes and background information, with graphic design and photography by Rob Dodson.


Reviews


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Eddie Sullivan

Noor Wave Music
Mr. Armes CD 'Noor' reminds me of my favorite resturant 'The Curry Club' here on the North Shore of Long Island. A spicy blend of many different flavors, both electronic and organic, his own voice adding it's own haunting, mystical glaze. Being a fan of David Byrne and Peter Gabriel, I thought I picked up references, perhaps inferences to both, surely fans of western adaptations of world music will appreciate Mr. Armes homage to cultures rare and ancient. I was pleasently surprised to find Mr. Armes here on Long Island, just like The Curry Club, he may be the first introduction people here have to Eastern flavors. I highly recommend this record!

ethnomusicman

Another patented musical journey by Armes.
Noor, the follow up to his highly regarded Spirit Dwelling CD, takes
us on another musical journey, this time weaving together the tragic
story of a sufi princess, with his own spiritual musings about her life. The music itself goes from slow and moody in War Child, to jumpin' and clubby in Take Me Up, to a haunting euro/arabic soul trip in Yasmeen, to a mid tempo rocker ballad in Anima Camera, to a sad and mournful meditation in Noor, to the funky epic mini-saga of After Dark, and finally to Witness where we are left feeling drained from the journey but up lifted by angelic voices and instruments that relieve us with a sense of hope and positiveness. This CD is really different in feeling and in it's story. It touches you on several levels. On one level is the story of Noor herself, on another is Armes' place in the middle of this telling of her story, and thirdly is the unique music fabric he has woven here. Give it a listen... Another music journey worth taking. Not just another sticky sweet pop hit, but real music. Music that
challenges you, takes you somewhere, but brings you back feeling wiser, and yes, happier.

Richard barnes

www.seaoftranquility.org
Armes, Geoffrey: Noor
This album deserves to be heard, if only for exposing the ignorant racism of much of British and American society to the sacrifices many people from the Eastern world and the Indian sub-continent in particular made to overcoming the Nazi threat in the 1940s. Noor Inayat Khan was a Sufi princess, the daughter of immigrant Indian parents who travelled to Britain and worked as a spy in Paris for the British Secret Service. She was captured, tortured and put to death in 1944 at the age of just 29 at Dachau by the German occupying forces, apparently without ever giving any information to them including her own name. She was awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre posthumously for her services to the allied forces, services which must not only have been painful and terrifying for her but also intimately against the essential pacifism inherent in Sufi Islamic thinking.

Geoffrey Armes is a US producer and musician and this album, on which he sings and plays all keyboards, percussion and guitars is dedicated to Noor's short life and murder. The bouncy opening track, "Take me up" is an Eastern tinged hymn to Noor's religious calling. It is followed by "Yasmeen", a reference to the codename used by the British to notify the French resistance of her landing near Paris, where she had spent most of her life before fleeing from the German invasion. This a tender and jittery arrangement with a shifting meter and odd semi-tonal quality, reflecting the nervous fear and apprehension she must have felt, tempered in the more hopeful second half arrangement by her natural desire to see her home again. French conversational voiceovers intersperse the dominant percussion, bass and wind instrument keyboard effects.

The melancholy "Child" and the more upbeat and emotional, "Anima Camera" are observations on Noor's likely feelings and motivations and in some ways their impacts on Armes himself who has clearly been immensely taken with and moved by her story. "Noor" captures the essence of her background in Sufi music and the influence of her father, a renowned musician, who died during her teenage years and who was a founder of the International Sufi Movement. "After dark" is an atmospheric piece with some stunning acoustic guitar work. The final song reveals Noor's attitude to death (liberty) itself as her strength of conviction. Armes clearly had personal difficulties facing up to the emotional absorption of this final stage of her life and avoids the undoubted horror of her final confinement and execution by looking to her belief in the ultimate superiority of her God and an afterlife as a release from her pain.

This is a beautifully structured work of pop, classical and world music styles, a touching tribute to a heroine whose story should be told more widely, certainly here in the UK as we approach our annual 'poppy day' remembrance.


Track Listing
1. Take me up
2. Yasmeen
3. Child
4. Anima Camera
5. Noor
6. After dark
7. Witness

Added: November 3rd 2008
Reviewer: Richard Barnes