Nour Eddine & Phaleg - Taragnawa
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Nour Eddine & Phaleg
Compagnia Nuove Indye (

cd cover For a moment, I was misled into believing this was a live recording; such is the verve with which the many musicians perform on this record. Judging by the pictures included, it might have been to my benefit that this is a studio recording, because the inclusion of 'Arabicized' dancers and 'ethnically dressed' musicians was certainly verging perilously close to kitsch, at least to my taste.

A live recording this might not be, but lively it certainly is, a true manifestation of those interesting times in the Mediterranean when, through the arrival of immigrants, old links are found anew, resulting in new forms of art (and music in particular) that sound both refreshingly modern and yet eternal. Against every expectation, Taragnawa is such a record. The way the Arab influences merge with the Southern Italian tradition brings forth the ancient links between them. This is a fusion project that almost never feels like one, such is the ease with which those two cultures merge. This is, of course, also thanks to the talent of the chief composers: Nour-Eddine Fatty, Oussama El Karichi and di Niliu. "Taragnawa" (the song, which is also the only traditional text in the record) is probably the best indication of this effortless merge.

All of the songs deal with the many facets of love but tangents can be discerned to other expressions and ideas, providing the recording with a necessary poignancy. The use of oud, daruka, ney, sentir, krakeb, tbal, a number of guitars acoustic and electric, "Gypsy" trombone, accordion and zampogna, pipita, Calabrian lyre, bouzouki, bendir, haraz, double and electric bass and percussion create a rich and interesting sound. The booklet includes the lyrics in Arabic, the regional dialect and Italian. All of this results in a recording which will open up Arabic and North African traditions to listeners who may not already be intrigued by or understand the culture, offering a good point of entry to the music.

When you first throw the ingredients in a melting pot, there is a time when they are still clearly identifiable, yet are begging to merge together. Taragnawa is a musical record of that unique moment. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available at cdRoots

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