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Dhafer Youssef: Electric Sufi

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Album Review

Tunisian-born oud performer/vocalist Dhafer Youssef attains a happy medium while integrating the oud (an Arabic lute instrument) with jazzy grooves and wide-ranging improvisational forums. On this outing, the artist crafts an appealing worldbeat/jazz scenario partly due to his nimble plucking and mood-evoking unison choruses with trumpeter Markus Stockhausen. There's also a drum'n'bass element here, as the leader utilizes the talents of ex-Living Colour rhythmic aces Will Calhoun (drums) and Doug Wimbish (bass). Jazz guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel adds textural patterns to many of these pieces while embarking on a pleasant mainstream jazz-based solo passage on the piece entitled "Farha." Youssef also displays a multi-octave vocal range on several tracks — as he renders wordless vocals that often conjure up notions of religiously inclined mantras. A good portion of this affair features lightly rumbling percussion vamps intertwined with North African modalities and alternating dialogue among the soloists. A nice effort that ages well upon repeated spins.


Born: November 19, 1967 in Teboulba, Tunisia

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer, composer, and oud player Dhafer Youssef was born in 1967 in Teboulba, Tunisia. The oud is an Arabic lute, a string instrument that can achieve a beautiful sound from those who know how to master it. Youssef began singing when he was only five-years-old. Since then he has performed for audiences in Tunisia, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and other countries. He has appeared with his own ensembles and recorded two albums with them, one in 1993 and the other three years later. Youssef's...
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Dhafer Youssef: Electric Sufi, Dhafer Youssef
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