Many years before what we call “World Music” appeared on the scene, certain individuals had already understood the enormous value and vast variety of the world’s various musical traditions and had dedicated their lives to their study. One such person is Ross Daly. Although of Irish descent, Ross Daly does not really fit into any particular ethnic stereotype given that his life has been spend in many different parts of the world and his home for the last 35 years is the island of Crete in Greece. Ross Daly, at a very early age, discovered that music was, in his own words, “the language of my dialogue with that which I perceive to be sacred”. This dialogue eventually led him to the great modal traditions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent where he finally found the musical archetypes that he had been searching for all his life.
Many of Daly’s own compositions follow a tradition found in Indian and certain Turkish & Cretan music of a restrained and disciplined progress towards a crescendo. I have never heard this effect more than on this interpretation of Pendozalis. The piece works incrementally, moving forward in steady steps and frequently taking one back, thereby heightening the sense of tension and expectation.
An oasis amid the wasteland of arid, bloodless sounds, it was lush with exotic instruments and time signatures, original and traditional compositions, precise ensembles and meaningful improvisations.