Tous des oiseaux / Bomb, yek asheghaneh

Eleni Karaindrou

" This new release effortlessly continues the type of quality recording that the composer’ writing deserves. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

With the death of director Theo Angelopoulos the artistic symbiosis with composer Eleni Karaindrou ended after the wonderful work to Trilogia II: I skoni tou hronou (The Dust of Time). Since then, she scored a limited amount of films and series, while organizing concerts and writing the music to a new cantata (David) and a play (Medea). Tous des oiseaux is a new release by music label ECM, including the music to the play Tous des oiseaux and the score to the film Bomb, yek asheghaneh (Bomb, a Love Story).

Tous des oiseaux is a play written by Lebanese-Canadian Wajdi Mouawad. What characterizes the play is the complexity of human struggles, against the backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is a thought-provoking play that deals with the very nature of humanity, our cultural identity, the inexpressible and offers little to no consolation. It closely resembles what Karaindrou usually tries to convey musically, and she has stated her work on the play broadened her own horizons.

The music features the idiosyncratic interplay between classical solo instruments, Greek instruments and Middle-Eastern instruments such as the Qanun and ney, while allowing Savina Yannatou (another great musician/composer of the ECM catalogue) to provide moments of wordless singing. Most of the musicians are slowly performing fragments of melody and sustained chords to generate a sense of distilled melancholia. This static and sober musical concept is something by which Karaindrou provides an over-aching emotional experience, resonating deeply in your soul. It is wonderful to see that, compared to all of her previous works for theatre, she is still capable to evolve her writing onto new and higher artistic grounds.

Bomb, yek asheghaneh is an Iranian film directed by Payman Maadi. The film is set in Teheran, during the height of the Iran-Iraq War, in which countless bombs befall the city. It’s a classic love and war story, concentrating on feelings of hope and despair.

Karaindrou' music explores, different, but not unfamiliar grounds, compared to static nature of the music for the theatre play. The rich number of ancient, cultural instruments have been mostly replaced by traditional woodwind instruments; piano, accordion and mandolin interacting with layers of string. It’s a more varied and vivid work, often balancing on the borders of hope and sadness, without ever losing itself in sentiments. Her music shrives well from the simple, traditional approach, underneath it unveiling a great emotional and poetic strength. It features a new waltz symbolizing the people hiding for the bombs, while also using the Politiki lyra and oud to accentuates the theme for the character of Mitra and reserving spaces for delicate piano passages.

Tous des oiseaux and Bomb, yek asheghaneh may appear very different works altogether, yet both have easily blended on numerous earlier works by the composer. Ever since Karaindrou was drawn to ECM records, the string of releases were mixed, edited and produced by a label that elevates her works to a higher aesthetic level, shaped so beautifully, and resonating throughout the impressive back catalogue of their music. This new release effortlessly continues the type of quality recording that the composer’ writing deserves.


1 The Wind of War 02:54
2 The Dark Secret 03:56
3 Encounter 04:05
4 Between Two Worlds 02:34
5 David’s Dream 06:56
6 Towards the Unknown 00:44
7 Lament 02:50
8 The Confession 04:05
9 Separation 03:20
10 Why? 01:01
11 The Impossible Journey 02:44
12 Je ne me consolerai jamais 01:21
13 A New Beginning 01:27
14 Love Theme 04:11
15 The Waltz of Hope 02:37
16 Mitra’s Theme - Walking in Tehran 02:59
17 Lonely Lives 01:37
18 Reconciliation Theme – var. 01:13
19 Mitra’s Theme – var. 01:36
20 Captured Heart 01:26
21 Reconciliation Theme 02:34
22 Love’s First Call 02:06

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 3 votes - average 4.83/5)

Released by

ECM (regular release 2019)