The Enchanting Qanun, and a few other CDs for your listening library

12:46 pm Arabic Music, Music, Oud, Taqasim

I am listening to ” Le Qanun Enchante’ “under the “Club Du Disque Arabe” label. This is probably the best thing one can do on a gloomy San Francisco morning. The first five tracks sound like the Mediterranean sun. The last two like Cairo summer evenings. Every track a masterpiece.

I was noticing that the post “As The Hard Times Hit” is quite popular. Another reason for listening to that CD. Music is flexing its muscles against the forces of nature and modern life, and it is winning. At least for now..

I continue to break the geographic and chronological order of the repertoire series and would like to recommend a few other CDs for a day like this:

Simon Shaheen’s “Taqasim”. This CD is so popular that it needs no introduction but I will introduce it anyway. Simon’s oud taqasim are absolutely fabulous. In them you hear the 6000 years history of taqasim, as well as perhaps their future. Simon’s technique is perfect, his tone is perfect. The CD features the contrasting sound of the buzuq played by Prof. Ali Jihad Raci, great buzuq and nay player, and musicologist. Simon has the ability to be both a traditionalist when playing in a traditional context, and a contemporary musician of the world blending jazz and Latin music in his compositions (as was demonstrated by the 11 grammy award nominated “Blue Flame”).

Then there is Abdu Dagher’s “King of Taqasim” album. A little harder to find, but a must seek out gem. The CD features Dagher’s most memorable compositions, all of which he uses as a vehicle to launch into improvisations at an orbit 80 miles above the atmosphere. In his extremely creative taqasim one hears Africa’s modes, rhythms, twentieth century Cairo’s life forces, as well as Dagher’s unique spirit.

Finally, when the going gets tough there is always Ziad Rahbani’s “Bil-Afrah”. Recorded in Beirout as the civil war was beginning, the CD featured eleven of Lebanon’s greatest artists who happened to belong to all the different sects and religions. As the artificial divisions become pronounced and violent again in Lebanon, one hopes that this time the spirit of “Bil-Afrah” will win, and the country will not fall into another senseless war.


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