Rissala by Ziad Abdel Salameh & Naziha Azzouz

The Palestinian Adel Salameh was amongst the first wave of virtuosic young oud (lute) players to take up the torch from Munir Bachir. He has now established himself as one of the finest Arab performers working in Europe and his recent collaborations with the French/Algerian singer Naziha Azzouz have been especially fruiful. In their latest project , Salameh has drawn inspiration from the music of Mohammed Abdel Wahab-the éminence grise of the mid-20th century Arab musical renaissance who wrote for all the great Cairo superstars of the day.
You’d have to be quite well-versed in Egyptian musical history to pick up on the references here, butthat should in no way mar your straightforward enjoyment of  some extremely fine songs in the classic Egyptian style, playde by dazzlingly well-rehearsed group that includes violin, accordion and riq drum. Salameh, whose oud playing has never sounded more assured, writes sensitively for Azzouz’s voice, and his setting of words by some of th eArab world’s finest modern pets is such that you really don’t have to understand Arabic to appreciate their line and beauty. The empathy that all the musicians on this recording share runs throughout the disc: though they have always benn talents to watch Salameh and Azzouz’s musicalpartership has really blossomed on Rissala.

Bill Badley

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from FolkMusicSMB

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