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

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Barbarito Torres of the Buena Vista Social Club

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Barbarito Torres of the Buena Vista Social Club

Anyone who has tried to translate between different languages knows the difficulties: it's not just vocabulary but nuance, idioms, inflection and humour which can get lost somewhere along the... > Read more

WOMAD NEW ZEALAND 2013: When the world comes to town

WOMAD NEW ZEALAND 2013: When the world comes to town

Time for all good citizens of the global village to get their passports stamped at yet another Womad New Zealand, once more in the beautiful site at Taranaki, New Zealand. Over three days in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

London, England: Inglin swings, and more

London, England: Inglin swings, and more

With due respect to Dr Johnson who said, “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life“, he was speaking before the chaos of modern life: Tube delays; pubs with pokie machines... > Read more

HEAVEN ADORES YOU, a doco by NICKOLAS ROSSI

HEAVEN ADORES YOU, a doco by NICKOLAS ROSSI

The only book I've read about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith – Benjamin Nugent's Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing -- had me conclude, Alan Partridge-like, “What a shit!”... > Read more