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Arabic Songs from North Africa

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Album Review

An interesting album of Moroccan music from Chalf Hassan, one of the stalwarts of the ARC label. The music tends toward the more updated end of chaabi, though largely with an oud rather than a gimbri or bendir. The syncopation that's a hallmark of Moroccan music is ever-present, and Hassan's vocals flow well with the rhythms. This isn't the powerful music of the Gnawa, but the parallels are clear. Qaraqebs are replaced by other percussion, and Hossam Ramzy takes up the drums, but the style is highly related. In these, however, the lyrical content is somewhat more developed, more poetic. The songs deal with love and infatuation, with a hint of devotional work thrown in here and there ("Lalla Fatima"). There are a massive number of Moroccan albums on the market, and this one stands roughly in the middle of the spectrum in both innovation and sound quality — not a bad starter album for a curious listener.

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Arabic Songs from North Africa, Chalf Hassan
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