Wish

Wish

by Hamza el Din
     
 

The calm, muscular restraint that comes only from sheer mastery of one's inner and outer circumstance is the sound of Hamza El Din's A WISH. El Din, Nubia's greatest exponent of the oud, was making world music long before it was a section in the record store; he recorded for the folk label Vanguard in the '60s, toured with the Grateful Dead, and turned on Joan Baez… See more details below

Overview

The calm, muscular restraint that comes only from sheer mastery of one's inner and outer circumstance is the sound of Hamza El Din's A WISH. El Din, Nubia's greatest exponent of the oud, was making world music long before it was a section in the record store; he recorded for the folk label Vanguard in the '60s, toured with the Grateful Dead, and turned on Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Through the years, he has always held the music of his people close -- A WISH is stark, meditative music steeped in the traditions of Nubia, the ancient kingdom now incorporated into southern Egypt and northern Sudan. El Din explicitly recalls Toshka, his home village, which was destroyed in the 1964 Nile flooding that created the Aswan High Dam. With lyrics in Arabic and Nubian, El Din describes life in that vanished home; he also explores love themes and matrimonial music. Most stately are his instrumentals -- backed by Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, world music MVPs Hani Naser and Amy Cyr, and Japanese vocalist Shizuru Ohtaka, El Din's oud crackles like the sails of Nile barques at sunset. There's a contemplative grace that recalls Japanese music (El Din spent over a decade and a half there), but overall, this powerfully placid recording is uniquely Hamza El Din.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Hamza el Din has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the world's great oud players, and the mastery he displays here quickly establishes just why he's so lauded. The virtuosity shown on "Greetings," for example, is a sheer delight, his nimble and thoughtful fingers creating lovely melodies behind the vocals of Shizuru Ohtaka. But it's on "Sunset," which is variations on a theme by Riad el Sumbati, that the power of his playing truly begins to shine. Completely solo, he works in the maqam, or scale, building his work. However, he's not afraid to leave his oud behind, and just use rhythm, as he does on "Nagrishad," where the only instruments are beaten and the vocal carries the only melody. But the centerpiece is the title track, a gorgeous song graced by the cello of Joan Jeanrenaud and W.A. Mathieu's piano, which, with their Western tunings, bring the piece to a place that's not completely of el Din's Nubian homeland. It's a lovely work whose themes resonate and last long after the CD, and it might well be the most accessible -- at least to Western ears -- music that el Din's composed in a long career.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/1999
Label:
Sounds True
UPC:
0600835011020
catalogNumber:
50110
Rank:
96034

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hamza el Din   Primary Artist,Vocals,Oud,Hand Clapping,Taragat
Joan Jeanrenaud   Clarinet,Cello
Hani Naser   Doumbek,Clay Drums
Amy Cyr   Nay
Shizuru Ohtaka   Vocals
Shabda Owens   Hand Clapping
William Allaudin Mathieu   Piano

Technical Credits

Hamza el Din   Producer,Liner Notes,Artwork,Audio Production
Howard Johnston   Engineer
Tami Simon   Executive Producer
Shabda Owens   Producer,Audio Production
Justin Lieberman   Engineer
William Allaudin Mathieu   Arranger

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