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Abbar El Hamada

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 4 Mar 2016
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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Mar. 2016)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Glitterbeat
  • ASIN: B018JBKOAM
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

Product Description

Western Saharan musician/activist Aziza Brahim's new album Abbar el Hamada (Across the Hamada), is a commanding and compassionate musical statement about, and for, the tumultuous age in which we live. Raised in a Saharawi refugee camp in the Algerian desert, and living in exile for more than two decades (first in Cuba and currently in Barcelona), Brahim's life and music embodies both the tragedies and hopes of the present-day migrant and refugee experience. As walls and borders are again being raised though-out Europe and other corners of the world, Aziza Brahim's passionately sung poetic defiance, is especially timely and profound. Los Muros (The Walls), a dignified desert dreamscape; is emblematic of Aziza's artistry. The lyrics morph from condemning the sand fortifications Morocco has erected along the Western Saharan border (to prevent the return of the Saharawi to their homeland), to a recognition that while walls are tragically universal, so is the imaginative spirit that encourages us to transcend them. Brahim's previous album, the resplendent Soutak, made great strides towards spreading her message of liberation and resistance. Soutak spent an unprecedented three months atop the World Music Charts Europe, and was the chart's top album for 2014. The album was also selected as one of Songlines magazine's "Top Ten" albums of the year and appeared on several other year-end critics lists. An appearance on the legendary BBC television program Later with Jools Holland further cemented her growing reputation. Buoyed by this success, Aziza and her band toured extensively in Europe and beyond. Soutak not only confirmed Brahim as the most important Saharawi musician of her generation, but it also gave evidence that she had become one of Africa's most respected young musical voices. On Soutak the musical nuances of Barcelona, her adopted home, were clearly audible. While these influences certainly have not vanished, on Abbar el Hamada, Aziza has consciously extended her reach deeper into the sounds of contemporary West Africa. This move has been reinforced by the introduction of Senegalese percussionist Sengane Ngom and drummer Aleix Tobias (who has studied drumming in Gambia and Senegal) into her band, and the return of Malian guitarist Kalilou Sangare from the Soutak sessions. Bassist/arranger Guillem Aguilar and guitarist Ignasi Cusso, also return from the previous band. Recorded in Barcelona in the summer of 2015 with Soutak producer Chris Eckman (Bassekou Kouyate, Tamikrest), Abbar el Hamada, is a wholly persuasive example of Brahim's pan-musical vision and is her most compelling and varied album to date. "It is meant to be a diverse, powerful album," she says, "where Saharawi traditional rhythms (such as Asarbat and Sharaa) are mixed with drums and rhythms from West Africa (particularly Senegal) and of course Mediterranean sounds and rhythms also." From the pulsing desert rock of Calles De Dajla, to the Afro-Cuban inflections of La Cordillera Negra (evoking 70's recordings by the Super Rail Band) through the dusky elegance of El Canto Del La Arena and the raw balladry of Mani (featuring Malian blues-master Samba Toure on guitar), the music and lyrics on Abbar el Hamada masterfully reflect the restless, imaginative search for home, explicit in the album's title. Hamada is the word used by the Saharawi people to describe the rocky desert landscape along the Algerian/Western Saharan frontier where tens of thousands of their people are stranded in purgatorial refugee camps. "For me, Abbar el Hamada (Across the Hamada) is a title that synthesizes our destiny as a country over the last 40 years", Aziza explains. "We are suffering an injustice that condemns us to try and survive in an environment as inhospitable as the Hamada." When recently asked how she would best describe her musical mission and methods, Aziza's reply was like her music; revealing and beautifully stated: "I'm not able to separate politics, cultural and personal concerns. So, the focus of my music is all of these areas at the same time. Political, because of its commitment to the denunciation of social injustice. Cultural, because it searches for new musical ideas. Personal, because it expresses the worries of a person that aspires to live with dignity in a better world." Innovation, naked truth, humility and political outcry: these are the raw materials of Aziza Brahim's ever expanding musical vision. On her new album, Abbar el Hamada she fuses and fashions these elements into an unforgettable work that is both deeply inspired and deeply inspiring.

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wonderful new album from the Western Sahara musician. Her vocal style is soft, dreamy and delicate, yet the lyrics (given in English in the sleeve notes) are unrelenting about the quest for independence for this desert state seemingly forgotten by the world.

Hints of the desert blues sound from Tinariwen and the like but with more influence from Mali, particularly from the guitar of Kalilou Sangare. Also Senegalese influence with sabar and tama (talking drum) by Sengane Ngom. There's some nice flute on El Canto de la Arena, organ on El Wad, and some more Malian guitar by Samba Toure on Mani.

The overall feel is languid and restrained, at times with a flamenco edge to the guitars, and a bit of percussion break here and there. It's very nice, much less intense and declamatory than the great Mariem Hassan.
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Format: MP3 Download
You know how it is when you discover a wonderful artist;part of you wants to tell everyone, part of you wants to keep her to yourself like a private treasure. Aziza is a treasure that should be shared with everyone. I think she has done an amazing job in making her music as accessible as possible while still retaining that wonderful purity and grittiness which seems to blow straight in from the Sahara on the hammatan. Her story and that of her people should make the rest of us sit up and listen but don't buy this to help (unless you want to). Buy it to hear a truly stunning artist at the top of her game.
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This amazing singer has produced a world classic. Her soothing voice raising above the sand, dust and troubles making you stand still just to listen. Certainly recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Quiet Dignity of Resistance and Longing 3 April 2016
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Music of the refugee, of the exile, of those disposed of a homeland has a bitter-sweet quality. Aziza Brahim was born in an Algerian refugee camp of Sahrawi people who had fled the war among nations and internal factions when Western Sahara, formerly a Spanish territory, was divided between Mauritania and Morocco (Morocco now controls all the territory). She eventually decided to pursue a musical career and today lives in Spain, having received much praise for her previous albums. In this new work, sung in Spanish (lyrics provided in Spanish, English, and Arabic), her tunes reflect influences from other Saharan people, particularly the Tuareg and those in Mali. Indeed, her band includes guest Malian star Samba Touré on electric guitar. Other musicians play acoustic and electric guitars, djembe, taba and other drums and various percussion, flute, and organ. She sings of longing for peace and a return to an independent homeland, of the desert mountains and rivers in wadis, of the role of women in modern society, and a protest of the wall built along the border of Western Sahara (and by extension, we can think of the walls between Israel and Palestine, Mexico and the United States, and other national borders in wake of the current Syrian refugee crisis). The new album has a even, mellow and soft, bluesy tone compared to her vigorous, bright, and more varied 2014 opus Soutak. There is a weariness in her voice; yet a dignified, less belligerent approach may get her message across. Unfortunately, she recently declined participating in a Israeli Festival of Sacred Music in support of the Palestinians, which prevents her direct personal confrontation of Israeli policies through her songs. (Sometimes boycott is a less effective tool of change when you are not a VIP or do not have financial clout.) Brahim's music and lyrics remind us of the plight of so many people in diaspora, but they also provide an appreciation of other Saharan musical traditions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 22 April 2016
By montana billings - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent music by a singer I read about in Songlines magazine. I recommend it for everyone, she's incredible.
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