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CD comments

This section is intended to comment oud CDs. If you have listened a CD and you want to comment it, please e-mail me. Your opinion is worthwhile!

Rahim AlHaj - Oud and Sadaqa Quartet."Friendship". Fast Horse Recordings FH 010. (2005)

This very interesting and nice CD bonds together the best of Eastern (oud) and Western (string quartet) musical traditions, brilliantly solving the obvious problems to match such (at a glance) dispair instruments. The oud line played by Rahim AlHaj is clear and accurate, and the violin family get an  accompaniment which doesn't mismatch the Arabic spirit nor occlude oud playing (a very difficult task). Some tracks show a strong Tango influence, mainly modern one (Piazzolla like). Since Tango comes from Iraqi music, the bridge between both becomes a ring, honoring its ancestor.

Rahim AlHaj."The second Baghdad". VoxLox RAH01. (2002)

In this solo oud CD, virtuoso oud player Rahim AlHaj shows an array of themes, mainly related to his homeland Irak. Worthwhile his first track, which brings the CD its name (The second Baghdad), where Mr. AlHaj reflects his feelings about this city, sadly injured after the war bombings.

Amer Ammouri. "Eastern Strings: The art of arabian oud solos". Hollywood Music Center HMC 1245. (2002) 

This Syrian oud master plays his music with an outstanding and incredibly accurate control of his plectrum, giving ornamented and sentimental works. He ranges from very complex pieces where he can show his skills, to deeply touching, tranquil pieces. Highly recommended.

Hamza El Din. "Escalay (The Water Wheel)". Nonesuch Records (from Warner Music) 72041-2. (1971) 

It contains mainly the amazing 1971 recording of Water Wheel, maybe one of the most representatives themes from Nubia (Sudan, at south of Egypt). It's a description of a small boy keeping the WW working, to pump water to the dry lands near the Nile in a country where temperatures reaches about 140F. Read the booklet also!

Hamza El Din. "Eclipse". Ryko RCD 10103. (1988)

This very nice recording is a very good starting point towards oud music appreciation. The CD has all lyrics translated and explained, and it's useful to read it before listening the music. It helps to "get situated" into the world it offers. Highly recommended: "Mwashah" (last track), an ancient classical song from the time of the Moors in Spain, easy to catch for Western ears.

Hamza El Din. "Songs of the Nile" ('World Sounds' collection). JVC VICG-5007-2. (1990)

Many medium-size tracks, some good themes but the other CDs mentioned are fairly better...

Hamza El Din. "A Wish". Sounds True STA M110D. (1999) 

This is an absolutely wonderful recording. I really love this CD. One could suppose "last CD, not so good", but in this case, this is my favorite from Hamza. He returns back to a more pure African sound, but mixing it with novel instruments like cello and piano. But of course, the oud solos with the strong and characteristic Arabic influence are not forgotten...

Haig Yadzjian & Antonis Apergis. "Outi" (The Greek Folk Instruments). FM Records FM684 (Athens, Greece).

Comment courtesy of Ken Shaw: "This (recording) has wonderful playing by two oudists: Haig Yazdjian plays the first seven, including four taxim. He plays as well as anyone I have heard and this might become my favorite recording of the oud.  The second musician is Antonis Apergis, who also plays very well. His music has a definate Greek feel, as opposed to the pure Arabic sound of Yazdjian, who was born in Syria".

Naseer Shamma. "Le luth de Baghdad". Institut du monde arabe. Sonopress 321009. (1999)

This is an outstanding recording, where we can appretiate the strong link between Arabic and Moorish Spanish music. Naseer is a gifted player who uses revolutionary techniques to get almost impossible ways of playing: from using nude fingers replacing plectrum, to adopting other instruments' techniques (from buzuq to flamenco guitar). This CD has wonderful songs, and it's absolutely recommendable.

Driss El Maloumi. L'ame dansee (The dancing soul). MUSIC DU MONDE label#3017170

Comment courtesy of Philippe Janssens: "DRISS EL MALOUMI is one of the most gifted oud players in his generation. With this CD, he managed to go behond academic or etcnic cliches and assimilate the tribal Berber
oud playing as well as the oriental and western styles. In his interpretation steeped in intense
nostalgia,spontaneously exemplifies the oud and maqam, with elegance and sincerity."

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Tierry Robin & Hameed Khan. LUTH & TABLA. Label:PLAYA SOUND ps 65062
auvidis distribution.

Comment courtesy of Philippe Janssens: "The music you hear in this CD is a sound of 2 different cultures but having
in common the same passion for the modal and rythmical improvisation of
oriental type.Thierry Robin is a Gypsy oud,guitar and bozouk player from
Belgium and Hammed Khan is a tabla player from Rajasthan (north India) at
the time of the recording they invited accordionist Guy Raimbault to
clervertly match their musical sensibility with their artistic minds."

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