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Camping Shaabi

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Album Review

As time wears on, it appears as though it's becoming increasingly more difficult to come up with a unique spin on rock music. But every so often, an artist shows up to offer a pleasant surprise. Case in point, Think of One and their 2008 release, Camping Shaâbi. Although the group hails from Belgium (the town of Antwerp, to be exact), Think of One certainly has a thing for world music, specifically a style dubbed "Moroccan Shaâbi," which is best described as a form of Middle Eastern-sounding alternative pop-dance. However, Think of One manage to put their own unique spin on it, as they inject unmistakable elements of rock into the proceedings, as well as vocals that blend Arabic, French, and Antwerp's own Flemish dialect together. What you get is a style that works more times than not — including such standouts as the electro call-and-response opener, "J'étais Jetée" and the moody, slowly building rocker "Hamdushi Five." Admittedly, there are a few misfires (including the done-to-death rap schtick on "Oppressor"), but if you're a fan of the artists who show up on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, there's a fair chance that Think of One may be your favorite new band upon discovering Camping Shaâbi.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Perhaps a bit of initial confusion about this group might be permitted, although by the mid-2000s the ensemble's raison d'être appeared to be coming into clearer focus: Think of One is not a band dedicated to the music of "Think of One" composer Thelonious Monk, but rather would like you to think of one world with all its musical threads coming together in a multicultural celebration of rhythm and song. Formed by Flemish guitarist/vocalist David Bovée, Think...
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Camping Shaabi, Think of One
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