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Le Voyage de Sahar

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Album Review

Over the past 15 years, Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem has assembled a relatively small but profound body of work. A skilled improviser who refuses to be part of the historical authenticity argument, Brahem works from the same trio setting that performed on Le Pas du Chat Noir in 2002, with pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. The dialogue between these players is, despite the sparseness of the music and the considerable space employed, intense. The deep listening necessary in the improvised sections allows for a natural flow of ideas to emerge from silence. The compositions themselves are skeletal, with repeating, slowly evolving vamps and lyric lines. They offer, on the surface, a contemplative approach, and indeed can be heard that way. However, when dynamics, timbre, and chromatics are listened for, what takes place is rather astonishing. Each player walks to the middle of a composition, steps back and reenters after ideas by the others are introduced, producing a kind of organic improvisation seldom heard. This is not to say that the most structured works here, such as "Vague/E la Nave Va," aren't full of meditative delight as well. They are, and there are vast spaces into which the listener can enter and disappear for a while — not so much to drift and dream as to be absorbed in their hypnotic and repetitive beauty. "Les Jardins de Ziryab" begins with Matinier's accordion, which is answered by the oud and Brahem's voice, accompanying them both. It unfolds from the center out. "Le Chambre, Var." begins, for this ensemble, at a trot. Couturier's chord voicing and Brahem's percussive approach create a winding musical narrative that Matinier's accordion underscores rhythmically. The keyboard and air pulse create a terrain where intricate melodic lines come out of modal and chromatic tensions. Ultimately, Brahem has given listeners another of his wondrous offerings, full of deceptively simple compositions that open into a secret world, one where beauty is so present that it is nearly unapproachable, and it is up to the listener to fill in the spaces offered them by this remarkable trio.

Customer Reviews

A great musician with an award winning album (Edison Award)

With his latest album “the voyage of Sahar”, Anouar Brahem won the “Edison Award” (in the World category), one of the most prestigious musical awards in the world. Edison Award is the equivalent of Grammy Award in the USA, "Le Grand Prix du Disque" in France or the "Deutscher Schallplattenpreis" in Germany (which Anouar Brahem won in 1998 for his album “Thimar”). The Dutch foundation Edison announced the of winners on December 6, 2006 awarding the Eddisons Jazz/World 2006 to Tunisian lutist Anouar Brahem (World), the Dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans, Andrew Hill (jazz) and Raraf de Haidouks (video). The diva Rita Reys, who is almost 82 years old, received an award for her career. Among the previous winners, one can quote Herbie Hancok, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Dave Douglas, Cassandra Wilson, Pat Metheny… The Jury had these wods during the Awards Ceremony: “With “Le voyage de Sahar", the Tunisian musician Anouar Brahem proposes an exhilarating, beautiful and intense album”.

A Masterpiece Full of Wonderful Surprises

You can never quite know what will come next as you listen to these songs. The ABT effortlessly combines jazz, Spanish classical guitar, French caberet, Windham Hill, Tunisian and Eastern Mediterranean influences in one beautiful song after another. It's hard to pick a single "must-listen" song from the collection, but "Le Voyage de Sahar" is a good start.

Evocative and haunting

I have been a fan of Anouar Brahem since I first encountered his music in 1999 when I lived in Paris. He is a master muscian whose compositions and improvisations are lyric, emotional and complex. I have his albums on contstant replay and this one, full of spare, precise, and perfect pieces, is a delightful addition.


Born: October 20, 1957

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The role of the Arabic, lute-like, stringed instrument, the oud, has been revolutionized through the playing of Anouar Brahem. While used in the past to accompany vocalists, the oud is used by Brahem as an imaginative solo instrument. In 1988, Tunisian newspaper Tunis-Hebdo wrote, "If we had to elect the musician of the '80s, we would have, without the least hesitation, chosen Anouar Brahem." Brahem has composed numerous pieces for such films and musical theater productions such as Sabots en Or,...
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Top Albums and Songs by Anouar Brahem Trio

Le Voyage de Sahar, Anouar Brahem Trio
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