Nguyên Lê - Maghreb & Friends (1998)

A musical project focused on Maghreb traditions, but at the same time really cross-cultural in spirit (as well as for the arrangements and the musicians involved), which provides a superb listening experience.

«Born in Paris to Vietnamese parents, Lê grew up listening to Deep Purple, then diversified. This explains his howling, fret-capering electric guitar style, although subtle whammy-bar usage does go a long way towards approximating the traditional folk sounds of his forebears. It's not as if this album only has 70s jazz-rock and Vietnam tradition to deal with. Its cast of players is mostly drawn from North Africa, with traditional string and skin (gimbri, bendir, etc.) mingling with the post-bebop horns of Paolo Fresu and Wolfgang Puschnig. All this rampant mixing might sound like a recipe for fusion disaster, but Lê manages to fold in all the disparate elements convincingly, forging a particular hybrid that the listener is unlikely to find remotely familiar. Occasionally, his guitar is overworked, but mostly Lê makes all the strange meetings appear entirely natural. "FunkRai" features Cheb Mami on synth, its funky rhythm track constructed from loops and samples, while "Ifrikyia" also brings in the West African kora and Peul people's flute. Lê's singers also make new friends, a Maghrebi contingent alternating verses with Vietnamese and Guinean soloists during "Louanges".» (Martin Longley, Amazon UK)

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Radu said...


Anonymous said...

Ciao e buona Pasqua che passero in quel di Recco.

jatlee said...

This unlikely combination of sources is gorgeous. Somehow, Radu, you always find "world" music that has fire and sparkle. Thanks yet again.

Groucho KCarão said...

Links on Badongo and on Up-File not working. Thanks for your work! Adriano, from Brasil.