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CD: Crotchet AmazonUK

Amel Chante la Méditerranée - Souvenirs d'Al-Andalus
Detailed tracklisting at end of review
Amel Brahim-Djelloul (soprano)
Ensemble Amedyez (Rachid Brahim-Djelloul (violin, vocalist, music director); Noureddine Aliane (Ud, Guitar, Voice); Dahmane Khalfa (derbouka, percussion); Sofia Djemai (mandolin); Mohammed Maakni (guitar)/Rachid Brahim-Djelloul
rec. Temple Saint-Pierre, Paris, July 2008. DDD
AME SON ASCP0814 [68:27]
Experience Classicsonline

The soprano Amel Brahim-Djelloul moves with beauty, grace and ease between opera and the music of the Muslim traditions of the Mediterranean seaboard countries.
I was drawn to this disc by the delight uncovered by hearing the Pneuma CD of Eduardo Paniagua’s El agua y los árabes. This Ame Son CD celebrates the musical traditions of the Mediterranean seaboard in tones that many westerners will in general regard as exotic - something rich and strange, indeed. These tracks lay bare the styles and cultures redolent of distant radio stations pulled in on short wave. They will also set off resonances with the music of the Crusaders, of Provence, of the troubadour traditions, of Berio's folk-song realisations and the arrangements by Canteloube.
The music draws on the Al-Andalus period in Iberia from 711 to 1492. We hear a light sprinkling of purely instrumental tracks mixed with the majority of vocal tracks where Amel Brahim-Djelloul sings in both French and Arabic. The booklet gives plenty of context - essential in my case - and the words are printed in original Arabic script as well as in French and English translation. Two of the most impressive tracks are Al Xir Inu - Kabyle (trs. 20 and 21) where the music is melancholy and simple with mandolin and the you supple voice of Amel Brahim-Djelloul. This music could easily inform the next Capercaillie project if they ever get to hear this fascinating album. Speaking of Celtic-Muslim fusion try tr. 22. It hits the spot with the strangest echoes of Hebridean psalm singing and the Arabic tradition! The vocal line across the disc is often marked out by ululation, a sinuous mesmerising motion and is scorched with nasal tone. The youthful beautiful voice of Brahim-Djelloul is decorated and intensified with instrumental parts for ud, drums, violin, tambourine, mandolin and guitar. The vigour of these traditions is evident from Khlaç (tr. 5) with its sharply etched rhythmic whirl and emphasised solo-chorus dialogue.
Rob Barnett

Detailed track-listing
1 Pièce instrumentale traditionnelle du Maalouf tunisien dans le tab' inqilab çba'yn
Extrait de la nouba dans le tab' zidane (École d'Alger):
2. Istikhbar : improvisation violon /
3. Inqileb : Ya bad'i el-hosn (ô sublime beauté) /
4. Inçiraf : Ya ghazal (ô Gazelle) /
5. Khlaç : Ma teftaker ya Ghazali (Te souviens-tu mon bien-aimé ?)
Chants séfarades et pièces turco-grecques :
6. Pièce instrumentale populaire turque dans la maqâm hijaz /
7. Istikhbar dans le tab' sika : improvisation ud /
8. Chahidi fil houb (Témoin de mon amour) - Poème de Ibn Al Labbâna ( ?-1113) adapté sur la musique de Yedi Kulé, chant séfarade de Salonique /
9. Istikhbar dans le tab' ghrib: improvisation mandoline /
10. Ebligh li Gharnata salami (Transmets à Grenade mon salut) - Poème de Ibn Zamrak (1333-1398) adapté sur Una matica del ruda, chant séfarade de Rhodès /
11. Karshilama - danse traditionnelle turco-grecque /
12. Los Bilbilicos - chant séfarade turco-grec
Mélodies extraites de l'Album des chansons Arabes, Mauresques et Kabyles de Francisco Salvador-Daniel (1831-1871) – adaptation pour ensemble traditionnel (Rachid Brahim-Djelloul):
13.Chebbou Choubban /
14.Istikhbar dans le tab' muwal : improvisation ud /
15.Klaa Beni Abbes /
16. Zohra /
17.Chanson Mauresque de Tunis
Extrait de la nouba dans le tab' inqilab çba'yn (Maalouf tunisien):
18.Ya hel tara hel yerja'u (Me reviendra-t-il mon bien aimé ?)
19.Min ennawa yaoum el firaq (Douloureuse séparation !)
Chants kabyles:
20.Ay al xir inu (Tendresse ) - Chanson kabyle – Idir /
21.Amedyez (Le chant du poète) - Chanson kabyle – Idir /
22.Abgas t-teslit (Ceinturage de la mariée) – Poésie traditionnelle kabyle adaptée sur la musique de Buenas noches hanum dudu, chant séfarade de Salonique


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