Aïsha - Els Camells no prenen cafè
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Els Camells no prenen cafè
Galileo NuFolk (www.galileo-mc.com)

cd cover Think of Manu Chao.
Think not of his politics (but don't dispose of them entirely).
Think of his music.
Now, add a bit more Catalan traditional music to it and take out a bit of his punk obsession. Translate everything into Arabic, and add Catalan lyrics. Leave his sense of humor and the well-known fact that he is a bit of a clown in. Remove Manu's rage. Are you still with me? If so, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Catalunya's Aïsha.

Aïsha have cooked up a spicy musical concoction that sounds both traditional and hip. "Sal al nas" sounds a bit like Metallica with its distorted vocals, although it rides a very cross-traditional musical background, half-Arab and half-Catalonian. But when the trumpets blow out, it signifies a true feast! It's one of those moments that you drag your friends into the room to listen to. "Bogeria Pastissera" is a bit like salsa, but the vocals bring to mind the Specials, so it's also a bit ska-like. "Ara que ja ens coneixem" is a wonderful instrumental that sounds like many things but ends up being nothing but itself - something characteristic of the album as a whole. "La flauta de l' Òscar" must be a theme for a penguin (if I got it right) but it certainly is a fun fanfare for kids aged 4-94. As for the nine minute-plus potpourri that finishes the record, well... let's say that it's unlike anything else you've listened to this year - including Manu, but it's not really an integral part of the record. Sometimes you feel that it was added as an afterthought.

That's what you get when you have a violin-bass-percussion setup and three guys on vocals, with various others helping out. The booklet contains all the lyrics in Catalan and Castillano as well as a short introductory text that speaks about their love of Arabian music.

Aïsha's record is a paradox; although you cannot exactly say what you like about it, it never fails to bring your spirits up. In that sense, it's the quintessential summer soundtrack and in that sense, it ends up being pretty essential. - Nondas Kitsos

Available from cdRoots

Audio: "Sal al nas" ©2003 Galileo Music, Spain

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