November 2 2011
Yesterday on Sound Travels we took a trip in style, rocking North-African Gnawa for the noontime set. Today, we surveyed the entire Middle East for some diverse sounds from an area of the world too ofted lumped onto one mis-named 'Arab Street.'
The Middle East is at least as diverse as any other region of the planet and has a wealth of different people, and by the same token, music. You heard a bit of that in today's set that started out with a Persian-American artist named Azam Ali. Also a member of another Persian group called Niyaz, Azam Ali is a beautiful, tender-voiced singer and santour player (aka the hammered dulcimer) who has a solo sound steeped in a classic Persian sound. Her latest album From The Night To The Edge Of Day, is a hauntingly compelling release of slow-tempo-ed tunes that will creep up on you. It took a few listens to get into this release; to get my ear attuned to finely tempered tunes like the one I played today. Also had a similarly vibed song from Ekova members Smadj and Mehdi Haddab, known collectively as Duoud, playing on the dual nature of their collaboration and the prominence played by the Oud (think fretless lute) in this fine release called Sakat.
Azam Ali "Nami Nami" From The Night To The Edge Of Day
Duoud & Abdulatif Yagoub "Youm Alahd" Sakat
Today also brought another opportunity to play Omar Khorshid, who has no peer in the Arab world on the electric guitar. A legend in his own time, he is criminally unkown to the west though his work is crucial to the history of modern Egyptian music. In his day, this cat worked with a veritable who's-who of the Middle-Eastern music world; from Oum Kholthoum to Salah Ragab and everyone in between, this cat never was a slouch. I ended the set with a properly done dub with Middle-Eastern vibes laced all the way up inside a driving tune that is proprly translated as "ride 'em cowboy." Fedayi Pacha is the Paris-based, Armenian man responsible for this devastating tune and also author of an impressive electro-dub release called The 99 Names Of Dub. Highly recommended.
Omar Khorshid "Apache" Belly Dance Vol. 1
Fedayi Pacha "Yallah, Cowboy!" The 99 Names Of Dub