Middle Eastern music is traditionally fairly sparse -- attempting to evoke the human voice with every bit of instrumentation, and keeping to the dastgahs, the maqams fairly tightly. When it becomes modernized, however, it can become a big sound, as in rai. Here with the Brothers of the Baladi, it's a very, very big sound. The core of the sound is in Middle Eastern instrumentation, but there's a chunk of electronica behind it all and strong (and tweaked) vocals. The album opens with an intriguing cover of the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth" in an entirely new light. The title track is a thick fusion of old and new with aspects of belly dancing music layered with some fairly ambient vocals and more electronica. A couple of more traditional numbers come next, dropping most of the modern ornamentation in favor of simpler oud and saz arrangements (but with a funky beat that's a little more pumped up than the traditional versions). And then it's back to the modern fusion pieces. An anti-war song is followed by a bit of a swooping ballad in "The Next Time," and a return to the more clearly Middle Eastern with Farid Al Atrache's "Wy'ek." After an oddly-placed traditional Anglo-Saxon dirge, the cycle seems to repeat again -- another anti-war song, a modern fusion belly dance (more hopped up than ballad this time though), and a traditional Arabic piece in "Wah Wah." A bit of the Song of Solomon is adapted into another piece of the very big sound -- lots of voices, lots of electronics, lots of drums. After a traditional Persian piece is reworked, the album ends with another cover of a classic rock anti-war song just like it began, using Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" this time around. The sound is thick. These guys are taking a lot of liberties with traditional musics, and generally winning on their bets. They're primarily in the circuit of world music festivals and college campus performances, but their sound is more thoroughly developed and richer than that would imply. Worth a shot for anyone who's got an ear for modern world music and something like what rai might sound like in Portland, Oregon.
|Label:||Brothers Of Baladi|
Performance CreditsBrothers of the Baladi Primary Artist
J. Michael Kearsey Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Bass,Vocals
Michael Beach Castanets,Tabla,Timbales,Vocals,Zarb,Zills,Bendir,Riqq,Def
Eddie Parente Violin,Guest Appearance
Bruce Robertson Drums,Timbales,electronics,Guest Appearance
Geoff George Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Brenda Erickson Violin,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Youssef Boutros Violin,Guest Appearance
Kerry Movassagh Electric Guitar,Soloist,Guest Appearance
Belinda Underwood Vocals,Guest Appearance
Technical CreditsJ. Michael Kearsey Composer,Producer
Chris Rea Composer
Steve Stills Composer
Neil Young Composer
Michael Beach Composer,Producer
Farid el Atrache Composer
Bruce Robertson Producer,Engineer
Geoff George Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Just Do What's Right based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
A beautifully produced album spanning centuries of music and the globe. A social and political message that could not come at a better time. Well deserves a place in any music lovers collection.