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Secret Journey (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Secret Journey is new age pianist Omar Akram's third album, but it is his first to be released under his full name; his previous releases, Opal Fire and Free as a Bird, were billed simply to Omar. On the evidence of Secret Journey, Akram might consider using an even longer name, the Omar Akram Band, for example, or some more imaginative title, since the music on the album is anything but solo piano work. On the contrary, Akram's piano is just one instrument weaving around in the arrangements alongside Charlie Bisharat's violin, Pedro Eustache's flute, and Ardeshir Farah's and Ramon Stagnaro's acoustic guitars in what is really ensemble playing. Akram, the son of a diplomat, has a broad international perspective that informs the music he writes with producer Gregg Karukas, who provides much of the rhythmic accompaniment in the form of drum and percussion programming and additional keyboards. The rhythm tracks often exhibit a Middle Eastern or Indian influence, particularly when Ron Wagner, whose credit is "ethnic percussion," weighs in. But the major element in the music is the interaction between Akram, Bisharat, Farah, and Stagnaro, with Eustache coming in here and there, and as often as not, Bisharat and the guitarists are more dominant than the pianist himself. Fans of contemporary instrumental music should be prepared for some exotic flavors on this pleasant, stimulating album, though nothing that will really disturb their palates.

Customer Reviews


Omar's new album takes you away from your daily stresses and sends you off on your own "Secret Journey". It's just beautiful!

Another Beauty!

“Secret Journey” is Omar Akram’s third release on Real Music, and, like his first two CDs (which were released under his first name only), is a vibrant tapestry of musical idioms gathered from around the world as the son of a UN diplomat as well as a world traveler and musical ambassador in his own right. In addition to Omar’s acoustic piano and keyboards, his stellar lineup of collaborating musicians includes Charlie Bisharat on violin (one of my all-time favorite musicians!); Greg Karukas’ arrangements, additional keyboards, and percussion; Adeshir Farah and Ramon Stagnaro on acoustic guitar; Pedro Eustache on winds; and Ron Wagner on ethnic percussion; Karukas also produced and engineered the album. Most of the tracks are ensemble pieces rather than piano with back-up musicians, and what wonderful music they make together! Soulful with a broad variety of influences, this is truly “world music,” as in ethnic music with no specific origin - some is very Latin, some is more Middle Eastern, and all is just great music with universal themes of hope and humanity at its best. I had the opportunity to have several phone conversations with Omar after the release of “Opal Fire” a few years ago, and found him to be very much like his music - warm, optimistic, funny (well, not the music!), and very sincere. The “journey” begins with “Run Away With Me,” a romantic overture with piano, violin, guitar, keyboard washes, and an infectious energy propelled by rhythmic percussion. Who could resist an invitation like this? The title track is darkly mysterious and exotic. As always, Bisharat’s violin brings poignance to the beautiful melody and enhances the emotional depth. “Nomadic Rhapsody” is much lighter and dreamier yet maintains a sense of adventure. “Passage of the Heart” is a lush, passionate love song, with guitar and violin merging seamlessly with piano. “Stargazers” begins with the feeling of vast open space. Guitar and violin set the calm, quiet mood, and then piano comes in with the lovely melody. This is a real beauty! “Whispers in the Moonlight” is also a gorgeous piece of musical romance. Warm and intimate, it exudes contentment and peace. “Mirage” is another favorite, with its exotic feeling of mystery and intoxicating rhythm. I also really love “Angel of Hope,” a gentle, evocative duet for piano and violin - such a sweet ending for a great musical journey! With three amazing albums to his credit, Omar Akram should be well on his way to becoming a musical phenomenon. Are you listening, world? Very highly recommended!


YAY! This is one of my favorite albums. It will take your breath away.


Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

Experimental pianist Omar blends the unique sounds of various Asian and European countries into a lush and mystical New Age mix. He came upon these international flourishes earnestly; Omar was born to a UN diplomat and spent his youth moving from country to country. Training to become a classical pianist during this time, he came out of it a well-rounded musician that had the sort of exposure...
Full Bio
Secret Journey (Bonus Track Version), Omar Akram
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