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Just Do What's Right

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Reseña de álbum

Middle Eastern music is traditionally fairly sparse — attempting to evoke the human voice with every bit of instrumentation, and keeping to the dastgahs, the maqams fairly tightly. When it becomes modernized, however, it can become a big sound, as in rai. Here with the Brothers of the Baladi, it's a very, very big sound. The core of the sound is in Middle Eastern instrumentation, but there's a chunk of electronica behind it all and strong (and tweaked) vocals. The album opens with an intriguing cover of the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth" in an entirely new light. The title track is a thick fusion of old and new with aspects of belly dancing music layered with some fairly ambient vocals and more electronica. A couple of more traditional numbers come next, dropping most of the modern ornamentation in favor of simpler oud and saz arrangements (but with a funky beat that's a little more pumped up than the traditional versions). And then it's back to the modern fusion pieces. An anti-war song is followed by a bit of a swooping ballad in "The Next Time," and a return to the more clearly Middle Eastern with Farid Al Atrache's "Wy'ek." After an oddly-placed traditional Anglo-Saxon dirge, the cycle seems to repeat again — another anti-war song, a modern fusion belly dance (more hopped up than ballad this time though), and a traditional Arabic piece in "Wah Wah." A bit of the Song of Solomon is adapted into another piece of the very big sound — lots of voices, lots of electronics, lots of drums. After a traditional Persian piece is reworked, the album ends with another cover of a classic rock anti-war song just like it began, using Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" this time around. The sound is thick. These guys are taking a lot of liberties with traditional musics, and generally winning on their bets. They're primarily in the circuit of world music festivals and college campus performances, but their sound is more thoroughly developed and richer than that would imply. Worth a shot for anyone who's got an ear for modern world music and something like what rai might sound like in Portland, Oregon.


Fecha de formación: Yuma, AZ, 1975

Género: Músicas del mundo

Años de actividad: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Fusing traditional Middle Eastern music with a rich blend of international influences and contemporary Western pop, rock, and jazz, eclectic world music ensemble Brothers of the Baladi have earned an international following for their intelligent, passionate music. Brothers of the Baladi were formed in 1975 by percussionist and vocalist Michael Beach, then working as a schoolteacher in Yuma, Arizona. Beach had struck up a friendship with Zamara, a local belly dancer, and formed the group with local...
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Just Do What's Right, Brothers of the Baladi
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