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Album Review

Exploring the cultural and musical affinities between Spain and North Africa, Alabina blends Gipsy Kings-style flamenco with the modern club flavor of Algerian rai, featuring tracks performed in both Spanish and Arabic. L'essentiel is a strong introductory compilation for newcomers, and although longtime fans may find a few personal favorites missing (like "Loli, Lolita, Lola (Rikdi)," for example), it's a pretty good listen for them too, as Alabina's albums have sometimes been rather inconsistent. This isn't music for traditionalists or purists, but its cross-cultural appeal is very real, and its infectious danceability may win over worldbeat fans looking for something modern and exotic.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

World peace and intercultural relationships provide the theme for the songs of the Paris-based group Alabina, led by vocalist Ishtar. Combining the musical traditions of the Middle East with the virtuosic rhythms of Flamenco, Alabina's albums have been a cultural exchange involving Ishtar and her band, Los Niños de Sara, a group of four gypsy musicians from the south of France who previously accompanied Manitas de Plata and Paco de Lucia. The daughter of an Egyptian mother and a Maroccan father...
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L'Essentiel, Alabina
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  • 5,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Latino
  • Released: 14 December 1999

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