As I spent Chinese New Year’s Eve in the company of a friend and watched in amazement as to how empty my part of town was, I decided to call it a night and spent a bit of time enjoying some music. This was the first result of a healthy list of music I indulged in. This was my first exposure to the Abdel Karim Ensemble. I’m looking forward to finding more albums, as they play great traditional music from Syria, Egypt, Morocco and pre-Reconquista Spain. Magnificent listening.
[Music] Le Mellotron: Paloma Colombe – Radio Amazigh #11 Hommage à Rachid Taha
The legendary Rock & Raï singer Rachid Taha passed away a few days ago at the age of 59 from a heart attack. Many writers and commentators have eulogized him in his passing, but the best the most fitting tribute comes from Radio Amazigh DJ Paloma Colombe.
Her program is mandatory listening for anyone into out-there music, but in her latest podcast, she combines not only Taha’s music but testimonies, as he not only influenced so many younger artists in France and the Maghreb, but was brilliant at synthesizing sounds in a catchy and energetic way.
The program is in French, so if you needed an excuse to practice, I can’t think of a better thing to inspire you with.
[Music] Various Artists – Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese Music
When he’s not working on his own music as Sonologyst, Raffaele Pezzella of Unexplained Sounds captures a lot of attention by releasing travelogue compilations covering the best of experimental and dark ambient music from various countries and regions. This one may well be his crowning effort.
All of these, with the exception of Sharif Sehnaoui, are unfamiliar names, but the sounds, which range from slow, churning, rhythmic drone to post-Industrial noise, the compilation introduces what I’m hoping is an energetic crop of new music composers whose influence will spread quickly both inside and outside the Levant.
Could a Syrian or Iraqi electroacoustic scene be next? I surely hope so!
[Music] Rachid Taha – Rock The Casbah
Very unpleasant news to report today, as Algerian-French singer Rachid Taha passed away today from a heart attack. He was one of the first and most important artists to fuse Raï and rock together in a way that gained him fame all over the world. Here he is taking on The Clash’s cult classic.
[Music] Fairuz – Good Friday: Eastern Sacred Songs (1967)
Perfect Good Friday listening from Fairuz.
[Music] Various Artists – Music From Yemen Arabia
Sub Rosa Records issues a magnificent collection of recordings done in Sanaa and Aden, Yemen’s first and second cities. The album was recorded in 1973 by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer, who did a stellar job making the original recordings sound so warm.
[Music] Saudi Arabia’s Bootleg Music Shops
Arwa Haider writes an article for the BBC on how bootleg music is spread throughout one of the most anti-pop-music cultures on the face of the Earth.
[Music] Finders Keepers Celebrates 100+ Crate-Digging Releases
Finders Keepers have released 100 of the most brilliant reissues imaginable. Spanning from weird African tapes to Jean Rollin horror soundtracks, the lads at FK seem unstoppable at the moment. Here’s to another 100 gems, at least!
[Music] Cyril Cyril – Colosse de Rhodes 7″ Single
Two gentlemen named Cyril (Cyril Yeterian: Banjo, Guitar, Organ, Vocals and Cyril Bondi: Percussions, Vocals) make a wonderful fusion between Western and Arabic/Maghrebi music.
Thanks to Les Disques Bongo Joe, a Swiss label specializing in releasing such 7-inch titles.
[Music] Yazz Ahmed – La Saboteuse
A magnificent release from Nawa Recordings (introduced in the last post), Yazz Ahmed is a trumpeter who blends jazz, Arabic music, and a cinematic, film-noir style to her recordings. Think of an ECM record with the vibe of a hard-boiled soundtrack.