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Master of Arabic Violin - Early Recordings, Vol. 2

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Album Review

Recorded in 1953, when Syrian Sami Shawa traveled to New York, this mono reissue does show him as a master of the different styles of Arabic violin. Beginning with a very wordy radio ad about his trip, he covers not only Syria, but also Palestine, Egypt, Algeria — almost every Arabic country. They're not simple illustrations of the styles, however; Shawa loses himself in them, although he's not above showing differences in the same melody, such as "Rahat Al Arwah," which appears in versions from Lebanon and Syria, as well as a folkloric Syrian style. He also shows himself to be a skilled improviser, as his Palestinian "Saba Improvisation" proves very clearly. While he's hardly a household name, he's well-worth hearing, not only as an educational experience, but for the quality of his playing.

Master of Arabic Violin - Early Recordings, Vol. 2, Sami Shawa
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