Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM/Ode)

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Anouar Brahem: Sur Le Fleve
Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM/Ode)

Tunisian Brahem who plays oud --- like a slack-string lute -- steers another fine album under his own name on ECM, a label with a reputation for meticulously produced if sometime emotionally distant music.

Here with pianist Francois Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier these exotic and evocative pieces conjure up cool nights -- rather than hot days -- in the Sahara and there is an almost psychic sense of understanding between the musicians.

At times this has all the stately elegance of European chamber music (transposed to a souk or caravanserai), at other times it is intense and commanding. But everywhere this spare and sensitive music is simply beguiling.

Enticing to listen to carefully, but equally welcome drifting away in the background.

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