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Jerusalem Under Fire

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Album Review

Due to releases like Jerusalem Under Fire, Israeli percussionist Badawai (real name Raz Mesinai) has become one of the world's most renowned Middle Eastern percussionists. He's become an influential figure for the New York City trip-hop (or illbient) style of underground dancehall/dub music, a scene that has spawned the likes of DJ Spooky, DJ Olive, and a host of others. Amazingly, almost all the sounds you hear on Jerusalem Under Fire are played by Badawai himself, who handles percussion, flute, and effects duties, as well as supplying the string arrangements and remixing and rearranging the songs. Two other musicians (violinist Simi Sernaker and tabla player Karsh Kale) help fill out the already rich sound, while all of the compositions are entirely instrumental. Highlights are many, but the very best would have to be the constant violin swirl of "Soldier of Midian," and the percussion-driven opening track "Critical Combustion," and the traditional reggae sounds of "Kill the Messenger."


Born: 1973 in Jerusalem, Israel

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Badawi was born Raz Mesinai in 1973 in Jerusalem. By spending a lot of time with Bedouins in the Sinai desert as a youngster, he picked up on their unique musical style. When he reached the age of seven, he was taken under the wing of dervish sheik Murshid Hassan (of the Palestinian refugee camp of Balata), who taught the youngster all about exotic Middle Eastern drumming. Soon he had mastered such percussive instruments as the bendir, zarb, and darbukka. He also discovered spirituality along the...
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Jerusalem Under Fire, Badawi
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