Rainbow: Music Of Central Asia Vol. 8

Kronos Quartet with Alim & Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi


“The sharing of ideas and art is a centuries-old practice for the people of Central Asia. And it’s a more than 30-year-old practice for members of the Kronos Quartet, whose music-making knows no international boundaries. Kronos’ latest cross-cultural exploration finds the band in collaboration with master musicians from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan… Be forewarned, this new disc does not always make for restful listening. The intensity such a fevered pitch that it saps every ounce of concentration. But it’s a hazard I think you will end up welcoming, wholeheartedly.”

Tom Huizenga NPR Music

About the album

As part of the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and Aga Khan Music Initiative’s ten-album set documenting the music of Central Asia, Kronos Quartet collaborates with Homayun Sakhi, a master of the rubâb (Afghan lute), and the Azerbaijani father-daughter singing duo Alim and Fargana Qasimov, along with their respective ensembles. Rainbow: Music of Central Asia Vol. 8 features a new work composed by Sakhi for string quartet, rubâb, and percussion and Qasimov’s arrangements of popular Azerbaijani songs.

Kronos met Sakhi and the Qasimovs through a partnership between the group’s not-for-profit organization, the Kronos Performing Arts Organization, and the Aga Khan Music Initiative. Since 2008, AKMI has brought Kronos together with leading musicians from around the world to compose, arrange, and perform new music rooted in regional traditions.


Kronos Quartet
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Jeffrey Zeigler, cello

Homayun Sakhi Trio
Homayun Sakhi, rubab
Abbos Kosimov, doyra, qayraq
Salar Nader, tabla

Alim Qasimov Ensemble
Alim and Fragana Qasimov, vocals, daf
Rafael Asgarov, balaban
Rauf Islamov, kamancha
Ali Asgar Mammadov, tar
Vugar Sharifzadeh, naghara

Produced by David Harrington, Theodore Levin, and Fairouz R. Nishanova

Series executive producers: Theodore Levin and Fairouz R. Nishanova

The Music of Central Asia series is a co-production of the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.


  1. Rangin Kaman (Rainbow) (feat. Homayun Sakhi Trio)
    Composed by Homayun Sakhi, arr. Stephen Prutsman
  2. Kohlen Atim (My Spirited Horse) (feat. Alim Qasimov Ensemble)
    Music and lyrics by Jahangir Jahangirov
  3. Mehriban Olaq (Let’s Be Kind) (feat. Alim Qasimov Ensemble)
    Music and lyrics by Shafiqa Akhundova
  4. Getme, Getme (Don’t Go Away, Don’t Go Away) (feat. Alim Qasimov Ensemble)
    Music and lyrics by Said Rustamov
  5. Leyla (feat. Alim Qasimov Ensemble)
    Music and lyrics by Jahangir Jahangirov
  6. Qashlarin Kamandir (Your Eyebrows Are Bow-like) (feat. Alim Qasimov Ensemble)
    Unattributed, Ghazal lyrics by Jafar Jabbarli
    Songs on track 2–6 arranged by Alim Qasimov, with string quartet parts arranged by Jacob Garchik


  1. Music of Central Asia and the Aga Khan Music Initiative
  2. Rainbow: Kronos Quartet with Alim and Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi
  3. Interactive Instrument Glossary
  4. Map of Central Asia

Released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings



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