cairo nights

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Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian: Oud Masterpieces (Arc/Elite)

Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian: Oud Masterpieces (Arc/Elite)

The oud -- a Middle Eastern ancestor of the European lute -- has an earthy but elevating sound and is heard from Egypt to Armenia, and in Massachusetts where Bardezbanian lives. While a student of composition at Berklee in Boston, he held down a gig playing in a Greek taverna, which accounts for the broad reach of this album: from his Armenian...

Natacha Atlas and the Mazeeka Ensemble: Ana Hina (World Village)

Natacha Atlas and the Mazeeka Ensemble: Ana Hina (World Village)

The great Natacha Atlas first came to my attention two decades ago when I was in England and she was guesting on albums by TransGlobal Underground, a multicultural London-based outfit that brought together trip-hop, techno, Middle Eastern and Indian sounds. Anything with Atlas employing her remarkable voice was an absolute winner and I...

Speed Caravan: Kalashnik Love (Adami)

Speed Caravan: Kalashnik Love (Adami)

The sound of the oud, a Middle Eastern lute, has frequently found favour at Elsewhere, notably with Le Trio Joubran and Anouar Brahem, and albums like Cairo Nights. But as the title of this album suggests, this is a very different kind of oud music: this is electric oud turned up loud and sounding abrasive, angry, politicised in the...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Speed Caravan: Kalashnik Love (Real World/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Speed Caravan: Kalashnik Love (Real World/Southbound)

At last! When Elsewhere reviewed this thrilling album last year it was almost immediately deleted and people were demanding it, even more so after this group played at the Taranaki Womad where they were, not unexpectedly, a real highlight. Speed Caravan's Mehdi Haddab does for the oud what Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton did for the...

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