Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Arabic Cafe (Rough Guide/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Daramad: Isfahan
Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Arabic Cafe (Rough Guide/Southbound)

This catch-all compilation is thoroughly enjoyable if a little MOR but, especially for anyone who has traveled in the broad region covered, these pieces with their dramatic strings, pattering percussion, horns and soaring vocals will evoke exotically shabby backstreets and rowdy markets, and days and nights when distant music rolled across rooftops.

Any such collection is a superficial wander around the pan-Arabic world with representatives here from the Nubian Nile (Salamat), the Sudan (Abdel Gadir Salim who recorded the excellent '05 album Ceasefire album with rapper Emmanuel Jal), Egypt (Mahmoud Fadi), Palestine (Ramzi Aburedwan with the vigorous bouzouk and accordion piece Tahrir) and many other points.

It closes with the cinematic, 11 minute Tales of the Sahara by Lebanese composer/pianist Ihsan al-Mounzer and his group Jalilah.

A slight introduction to the music, but it should lead you to the source albums or other similar collections, and a further selling point is the excellent bonus disc and '08 debut album by Dozan, the Sufi-influenced group fronted by Jordanian singer Shireen Abu-Kader which verges on the spiritual as much as the secular.  

The Rough Guide series of compilations delivered some excellent collections in recent months -- notably those of psychedelic Bollywood and Bollywood disco -- although their voodoo selection was disappointingly tame.

So you need to approach these collections with caution. But this one is a fine introduction or reminder.

Share It

Your Comments

Tony - Aug 19, 2014

Something different to what I normally listen to - and I like a wide variety of music styles.
I like this too!

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Rough Guide to the Music of Malaysia (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various Artists: Rough Guide to the Music of Malaysia (Rough Guide/Elite)

It would take someone more expert than me to tell you whether this is a fair or failed overview of Malay pop and roots music. All I know is that it's pretty cool. There is big band Bollywood... > Read more

THE TIMETABLE FOR WOMAD TARANAKI 2016

THE TIMETABLE FOR WOMAD TARANAKI 2016

The annual Womad festival in New Plymouth is one of the high points in New Zealand's musical calendar because, if for no other reason, it brings musicians from all over the world into our sight... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Henry Beasley

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Henry Beasley

Each year the University of Auckland's School of Music holds a songwriter competition with contestants drawn from their Popular Music courses, this year there are five contestants and Elsewhere is... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Lou Reed; Original Classic Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Lou Reed; Original Classic Album Series

Because Lou Reed's solo career after the Velvet Underground was so erratic, this Bargain Buy series (five albums for $20) really is the way to go: at worst you'll get a classic album, something... > Read more