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Noor by Geoffrey Armes

Geoffrey Armes has created a song cycle around the life of Noor Inayat Khan, daughter of American Amina Begum and Hazrat Inayat Khan, an Indian Sufi musician. Noor was a British spy who worked as a radio operator in Paris during World War II. She was captured by the Gestapo and then executed in Dachau when she was 29. Noor was posthumously awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre.

As Armes learned Noor’s story, he was drawn into her life. While a biographer would choose to uncover the facts of her story, Armes has tried to explore the inner story of her emotions, turning them into music and lyrics.

Noor features seven songs that are a fusion of folk, jazz, and world music. The opener, "Take Me Up," recalls Peter Gabriel, with quiet, intense vocals set against a modern, funky beat. Armes sings and plays guitars and keyboards on the album.

The next song, "Yasmeen," is a moody three-section number that incorporates different world music elements, giving it a Middle Eastern feel. At one point, women’s voices can be heard in conversation in the background, giving the song an even more mysterious feel.

"Anima Camera" has a more pop sound because of its keyboard work. Still, Armes mixes it up with other instruments, including a rainstick and an ocarina, which gives you a little bit of an idea of the different sounds that he uses to texture his music.

Noor is an ambitious work that is well executed. It doesn’t fit into a single musical genre and will appeal to listeners looking for something new and different.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Geoffrey Armes
  • CD Title: Noor
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Geoffrey Armes
  • Tracks: Take Me Up, Yasmeen, Child, Anima Camera, Noor, After Dark, Witness
  • Musicians: Geoffrey Armes (vocals, keyboards, percussion and guitars)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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