Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The beauty of Tunisia is well known to travelers, but the richness of her culture may not be as universally recognized. To that point, Ez-Zouhour brings to light a veritable treasure trove of traditional songs and music. The traditional elements of oud, qanun, darbouka, tar, bendir, and duf blend seamlessly with violin and double bass to weave a birght, varied tapestry depicting life in Tunisia from yesterday to today.
Personnel: Imed Ben Hassine (vocals, oud, violin); Alisar Osman (vocals); Mohsen Shaltout (violin); Ahmed Khashaba (nay); Bernd Satzinger (double bass); Arbi Ben Youssef, Raouf Kahouli (bendir, tar, background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Imed Ben Hassine; Diz Heller.
Recording information: Doremi Studio, Vienna, Austria.
Translators: Imed Ben Hassine; Diz Heller.
A basic compilation of Tunisian music, taking a stab at showing off the diversity and influences of the region. In this, Ez-Zouhour is surprisingly adept. The album starts off with a pounding beat courtesy of a Moroccan bendir, moving into a love song and a pastoral with more proper maqam foundations. "Sidi Bou Said" is a stunning instrumental, beautiful if perhaps a bit stereotypical. Bits of Ottoman influence, Middle Eastern influence, and even a touch of Spanish all get displayed before the end of the album, but the music is always distinctly North African regardless of what informs it. As most North African albums focus more specifically on Morocco, this one is a fine addition to the collection of anyone interested in the region's music. ~ Adam Greenberg
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