La Kabylie au Cœur
2001: Virgin France 724381013229
Orchestre National de Barbès
Cheb Mami & Idir
Fehrat Imaziten Imula
Abdel Kader Chaou
I tend to forget how much fun this compilation of contemporary Mahgreb music is even though it was so good that a coworker of mine had me order a copy (from www.fnac.com) for her and she keeps it at the office, ready to play at any moment.
It was my introduction to lOrchestre Nationale de Barbès, whose smashing Poulina CD I do think to play more often, and because Im a Zebda fan I recognized the voices of the Amokrane brothers on the track by 100% Collègues, Vava Vehri. The bulk of the other groups on this album Im not familiar with but certainly have stellar examples here of their work to compel me to check them out further.
There are some mighty groovelicious tracks on here, irresistably dance-triggering, among them the aforementioned ONB track Ourar, the hot-but-suave Tchek Mayluz from Boudjema Agraw, and the conceptually trippy but righteously boppin combination of Celtic and Berber worlds on Mugars all-too-brief Scottish Mezwzed. Azwaw 2 is, as I read somewhere a few years ago, a sort of joining of not-quite-estranged musical directions, and certainly the fact that it features Cheb Mami is of note; whatever its story, its a strong, confident, solidly-paced number thats beautiful to listen to.
In fact all of the album is beautiful to listen to (with the exception of that opening track, which is a kind of sloppy-context rap number); between the dance-manic numbers cited above is a fine array of very melodic glimpses of modern Northwest Africa.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.