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Among Brothers

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Album Review

The sophomore release from the exiled Algerian songmaker, this album took some three years to finish putting together, but the end result is arguably worth it. Inspiration for it struck Abdelli while he was in Cape Verde, and he spent the next few years traveling to new locations to record various local artists in their element, nearly always outdoors. The recordings were made with the intent of an eventual fusion of the various styles represented by the different artists, but the local artists were recorded within their own styles only, given a key and a basic rhythm to follow, and put together with the other recordings only after a couple years of collection. The final outcome is a surprisingly coherent collection of songs that hold elements of all the locales, but without any overly noticeable sense of cultural fusion in the normal sense. The styles are blended together well enough to replace the usual give and take between genres with a smooth single piece that is neither one genre nor the other at any given time. Represented are musicians from Cape Verde, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso (with members of Real World labelmates Farafina), Belgium, Algeria, Chile, and Argentina. Instruments from each of the locations come into play from time to time, always in combination with Abdelli's soft vocal work. In places, the fusion becomes more noticeable, and perhaps more conventional in the process, but even at those points it's a worthwhile listen. The real treats here are Abdelli's vocals and the ultra-smooth combination of styles for a new form of world fusion.


Born: Behalil, Algeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The musical traditions of Algeria are fused with modern musical influences by Abdelli. Although descended from the Kabyls, a part of the berber tribe that inhabited Northern Africa as early as 7000 BC, Abdelli has carved his own, improvised, sound with a combination of traditional instruments, including mandola, bender and darbukka, and other instruments from around the globe. Abdelli has been attracting attention for more than two decades. Teaching himself to play mandola at the age of 17, Abdelli...
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Among Brothers, Abdelli
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