This CD is one of the two soundtracks for the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ". The other one, "Passion", deals more with Peter Gabriel's performances. This one deals with the more traditional Middle Eastern music used and sampled for the film. This CD is perhaps the greatest introduction to Oriental (Middle Eastern, Indian, African, Persian, Turkish, etc) music that is available. It covers an incredibly diverse range of styles and cultures. The songs on here range from wonderful songs performed by excellent artists (NFAK, Hossam Ramzey, Shankar, etc) to authentic ethno-music recordings. The first song is a wedding song from the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan himself, giving a magnificent look into the traditions of Pakistan. NFAK's song is one of his best. This is followed by Senegalese superstar Baaba Maal performing the Call to Prayer, which is an integral part of Islam. I strongly recommend you understand and respect that when listening to this track. Returning to South Asia, we are treated to a lively, upbeat Indian number from Shankar and the Epedemics. Following this is a beautiful, ephemeral flute song entitled "Ulvi", performed by Kudsi Erguner, one of Turkey's greatest musicians. Hossam Ramzey, gives a lively Egyptian Raks Sharki number entitled "Fellahi" (farmer). I was very impressed with this one. It gives a view of Ramzey at his best. Next is a sample of traditional Egyptian Arab music. Then we are treated to a celebratory bar song from traditional Ethiopian musicians. Those unfamilar with Ethiopian music will be pleasantly surprised by this. Then we get a Perso-Indian performance by Mahmou Tabrizi Zadeh. This song fascinates me to no end. After that is another historic ethnic recording, this time from a Moroccan wedding celebration. As the NFAK song above showed, wedding celebrations are perhaps the greatest opportunities to hear music in Islamic cultures, so this shouldn't be too surprising. Next is a number by Abdul Aziz el-Sayed, which was recorded for the brothel scene, but was used for the Lazarus scene instead. And then we get a lively number from the African band Fatala, with lively percussion and vocals. This song is lively and uniquely West African, but fits in very well with the other selections. Next is the song from Nass el-Ghiwane (an excellent Moroccan group) which wound up being used for the brothel scene in the movie. Following closely is a performance by the Egyptian Gypsy group, Musicians of the Nile. And finally, the CD closes with a traditional Armenian ney flute performance, which I found both haunting and ephemeral. Its easily one of my favorite songs on the CD.
Overall, this is an excellent and diverse CD. The music on here, which saw use in "The Last Temptation of Christ" is wonderful and inspirational, whether from Christian (such as Ethiopian or Armenian) or Muslim (such as Pakistani or Egyptian) sources. It is beautiful and wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about this CD.