Marcel, Rami and Bachar Khalife: Andalusia of Love (Nagam)

 |   |  1 min read

Nassiti
Marcel, Rami and Bachar Khalife: Andalusia of Love (Nagam)

Anyone watching "developments" in that collision of Israel and Palestine these days can't but feel this disputed ground is, sooner rather than later, going to be just scorched earth.

And neither Palestinian nor Israeli natonalists are going to survive the firestorm of their own making.

But . . .

Politics aside -- if that is ever possible in thiat narrow world where righteous indignation, utterly fucked-up religious/political positions and generations of retaliation can ever be resolved -- then . . .

We here have the remote luxury of looking beyond territory and the various factions' need to prevail.

We, like many musicians, try to take the long view.

When the poet Mahmoud Darwish died in 2008 at age 66, the Palestinian people lost one of their greatest writers and political voices. His inspirational work spoke of spiritual and temporal loss, a people in exile and a yearning for reconciliation.

Lebanon-born oud player and composer Marcel Khalife was so moved by Darwish's work that he adapted a number of pieces for his repertoire, and the poet remains a guiding light in his life and music. Here with his sons Rami on piano (a graduate of Juilliard) and Bachar (a cross-genre percussion graduate from France), Marcel explores that emotional spirit again and it impels this music to great heights.

Although his sons have made independent names for themselves in the crossover of world music, jazz and orchestral works, this 14-piece collection is a tapestry songs and spare instrumentals based on a lengthy love poem by Darwish. The focus is on the Arabic tradition in engrossing miniatures and profoundly emotional singing.

Pieces like the moving “Nassiti” — which opens with elegant minimalism — transcend language and cultural divides to convey a deep sense of sadness with just enough suggestions of hope.

As much as it comes from a long tradition and also reaches to the Islamic history in Southern Spain, this collection also sounds utterly contemporary as their individual musical influences from Rami's Western classical allusions and Bachar's jazz-like accents are woven through.

The brief “Faracha” is an almost avant-garde expression of the tradition.

Engrossing.

And beyond politics . . . although we aren't so stupid to think this isn't, at some base level, "political".



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Although UK DJ Peterson has tripped lightly around the globe to unearth lost classics in bargain bins or to work with local musicians, he has developed an abiding love for Cuban musicians and this... > Read more

Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian: Oud Masterpieces (Arc/Elite)

Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian: Oud Masterpieces (Arc/Elite)

The oud -- a Middle Eastern ancestor of the European lute -- has an earthy but elevating sound and is heard from Egypt to Armenia, and in Massachusetts where Bardezbanian lives. While a student of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER MARK ROSE dices with death for dinner

GUEST WRITER MARK ROSE dices with death for dinner

I have lived through my first (and possibly last) Fugu experience. I managed to book two months in advance at Usukifugu Yamadaya, a famous three Michelin stars Fugu restaurant close to... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ike and Tina Turner; The Hits Collection

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ike and Tina Turner; The Hits Collection

After her autobiography I, Tina in 1996 in which Tina Turner documented the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband Ike for decades, few could look at him and think of his music. But --... > Read more