el tanbura

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BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

The previous album Amassakoul by these extraordinary musicians and desert tribesmen from the southern Sahara was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 and turned up in quite a few critics picks of last year. If anything, this album -- dense, driving, intense, poetic and shot through with mercurial, stinging guitar work -- is superior to...

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In the Western world the offspring of famous musicians often have a hard time if they choose to follow in the footsteps of their parents: witness the case of Julian and Sean Lennon. But in other cultures, notably in India and parts of the African continent, there is not only an acceptance but an expectation that children will take up the same...

Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Elsewhere listeners know it is unwise to judge an album -- especially a world music album, and most particularly a bellydance album -- by its cover. Beneath the bejewelled, bikini-top breasts on this unpromising looking album are the two key features: the names of Ramzy and El Bably. Ramzy is a prolific writer (over 20 albums for the Arc...

Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

It may be some time before the soul of Iraq is settled but if anyone can bring the traditional music of that troubled country to international attention it is Baghdad-born Alhaj who fled Saddam Hussein's regime to Jordan then Syria, and now lives in New Mexico. A graduate with honours in music, he has been playing oud since he was nine and...

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Hossam Ramzy and Ossama El Hendy: Ruby (ARC Music)

Said it before but will say it again: you should never judge a bellydance album by its cover.  You should look for a name like Hossam Ramzy and consider that a hallmark of quality. The man is genius and also astonishingly prolific as a writer and performer. This time out the percussionist pairs up with multi-instrumentalist El Hendy...

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

Kamel El Harrachi: Ghana Fenou (Mosaic/Ode)

By coincidence Elsewhere here acknowledges the son of another music master in the same week as we pick up the album by Jakob Dylan. Kamel El Harrachi is the Paris-based son of the late oud player/singer Dahmane El Harrachi from Algeria and this is his tribute on the 30th anniversary of his father's death. Singer/oud player Kamel has a...

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

As has been noted previously at Elsewhere, anyone interested in world music learns quickly to never judge an album by its cover. In many countries the cover is just the thing you wrap around the sound and not much thought is given to it. Often an “exotic” landscape photo or unflattering image of the artist (snapped at the...

Le Trio Joubran: AsFar (World Village/Ode)

Le Trio Joubran: AsFar (World Village/Ode)

A previous album Majaz by these oud-playing Palestinian brothers was a Best of Elsewhere 2008 selection, so this one seems long overdue -- although I have just learned there was a live album in '09 which was aimed at the local market. They are the fourth generation in their family of players and oud makers but, to these ears at least, do not...

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

The Putumayo label pumps out the compilations and some of them, most actually, are pretty indifferent. But the likeable generic packaging has captured the imagination so some people just get into that "buy the series" thing -- and get stuck with uninteresting Asian Lounge, various albums of kiddie folk, and disappointing collections...

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