BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Balke and Amina Alaoui: Siwan (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Jon Balke, Jon Hassell, Amina Alaoui: Ya Safwati
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Balke and Amina Alaoui: Siwan (ECM/Ode)

This album fits squarely into Elsewhere, but perhaps in few other places. Not only does it feature Elsewhere favourite Jon Hassell on trumpet and electronic effects, but it has a swooning Arab North African quality (singer Amina Alaoui comes from Morocco), the poetic lyrics come from Sufi writers and the whole thing is beautifully, and emotionally, orchestrated by Jon Balke.

With harpsichord, lute, a string section, Pedram Khavar Zamini on zarb (hand drums) and the violin of Kheir Eddine M'Kachiche, this remarkable album has a transcultural effect, the soaring vocals by Alaoui providing emotional uplift, the electronics from Hassell and dark viola and violincello providing a solid and exotically mysterious grounding.

Mesmerising, transcendental in places, occasionally dramatic and always affecting, this one is a standout for ECM. 

Share It

Your Comments

mark robinson - Nov 9, 2009

Stunning preview track Graham.

I don't have to add any comments to the discussion about how the ECM record label continues to release (fill in adjectives like stimulating, intelligent, inspiring, moving) music. But lets acknowledge ODE Records for importing ECM and making it available in NZ.

More of this music should be broadcast and opened up to an audience that, i believe, wants to hear and purchase it.

Good on you, Roger Marbeck and Trevor Reekie for enlightening us.

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Anoushka Shankar: Traces of You (Universal)

Anoushka Shankar: Traces of You (Universal)

Although nominally here under "World Music in Elsewhere", this emotionally charged album by the daughter of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar is her most cohesively interesting and engaging... > Read more

TARANAKI WOMAD 2015; THE ARTISTS' LINE-UP

TARANAKI WOMAD 2015; THE ARTISTS' LINE-UP

Longtime Elsewhere readers will know that we here always keep our ears on what the rest of the planet is doing . . . hence our longstanding World Music pages where international albums are... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Joe Bonamassa: Driving Towards the Daylight (J&R Adventures)

Joe Bonamassa: Driving Towards the Daylight (J&R Adventures)

Gutsy, earthy and steeped in the blues, singer-guitarist Bonamassa seems an unstoppable force. He fires off albums under his own name (this his third in two years) and with Black Country... > Read more

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Aside from meeting some interesting (and ocassionally odd) people, interviewing musicians gets you into some different places. In another life I doubt I would have ever been backstage at the... > Read more