Kanza by Adel Salameh & Naziha Azzouz

Adel Salameh and Naziha Azzouz may offstage be man and wife, but onstage their relationship is no less close: Kanza reflects a lovely congruence of artistic intentions. Naziha comes from a family of musicians in Oran, but since the age of 12 has lived in France; Adel was born in Palestine, studied music in Jordan, and has spent the last 12 years working in Europe. All the tracks on this compelling album are his own compositions or arrangements, but the magic they exude derives from an instrumental symbiosis: Adel’s oud, with Barbaros Erkose’s clarinet, Abdel Ghani Krija’s percussion–and Naziha’s voice. This latter has a dark timbre and exceptionally pure intonation, and it’s deployed with a very conscious artistry in songs that meld Palestine with medieval Andalusia. When Naziha takes the lead, Adel faithfully follows, echoing her melismatic turns of phrase. When Adel holds the floor, you hold your breath; when Barbaros’s clarinet soars up into the silent air, you can feel the silence all around. Everything here is acoustic, with no whiff of the studio; head, heart, hands and lips do the biz unaided. –Michael Church

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From WeLoveMusic

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