[Today: Peter Gabriel scores the life and times of Jesus, and creates a world music gem…]
Not exactly a soundtrack, and not exactly a Peter Gabriel album, Passion is nonetheless one of the most enchanting world music albums to be found in print. It technically isn’t the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s Last Temptation Of Christ – rather it expands on the music that Gabriel produced for that movie. Featuring the contributions of an all-star cast of world music titans, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, Youssou N’Dour, and Baaba Maal, it’s a swirling kaleidoscope of musical textures and moods that is a Peter Gabriel album in name only. In fact, Gabriel doesn’t even appear in the musical credits for several of the tracks.
The individual songs are built off sketches of centuries’ old middle eastern musical themes. A mountain of polished adjectives couldn’t begin to describe this music as effectively as a partial list of instruments used: Turkish ney flute, tabla, kementche, finger cymbals, Kurdish duduk. The album is a vast repository of striking, exotic sounds and intense instrumental performances. The finished product was the work of musicians from more than a dozen countries, making this a world music album in the truest sense of the term.
In his brief liner notes that accompany the album, Gabriel expresses his heartfelt thanks to the musicians who played on it. “We recorded some of the finest singers and soloists in the field of world music,” he writes. “The soundtrack is full of the spirit of their performances.” It’s a spirit that will live on long after the movie that inspired it has faded from public memory.
Listen: Of These, Hope