Chalaban / Al Baraka
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Al Baraka
Fono, Hungary

cd cover
"Al Baraka"
Chalaban have found their way from Morocco to Hungary and along that path have produced a beautiful and sensitive example of Arabic music that stays faithful to its roots while still sounding contemporary, taking unexpected turns that breathe new life into the canon yet never sound gimmicky. Instruments and rhythms that align the band with both Central European traditions and the modern DJ culture are used lightly in order to explore different sonorities and focus on the timelessness of the poetry; the highlight of the record is their collaboration, in their native Morocco, with the poet Ahmed Lemseyed, who is featured on the recording.

Sad Tichiti, the chief composer of the band, creates a wonderful mix that is both easily Arabic and global, using Brazilian instruments, Roma percussion, Balkan textures and DJ mixing that allow jazz, rock, Balkan music and club culture to touch the music. The lyrics (interpreted in the short liner notes in Hungarian, English and French) talk of friendship, love, serenity and the path to self-awareness.

Al Baraka presents a sound that has a funky lounge-ethnic groove that is thoughtfully rooted in tradition, open to its own time and introspective enough to give it a weight not always found in that other Maghrebi pop-traditional fusion sound, ra. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available at cdRoots

The band's web site: Audio (c)(p) 2002 Fono Records, Hungary, used by permission

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