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tarist Odisea and trumpeter Canek. Neither are as charismatic as the apparently AWOL Liber, although Odisea delivers some fiery raps, but the band has always worked as a collective anyway and it really doesn’t matter much, so strong is the overall sound. And what a sound it is, combining cumbia, hip- hop, ska, punk (I think deep down LDA have always wanted to be the Mexican Clash), mariachi horns, Balkan influences, jazziness… these disparate styles held together by tight playing (no one in the band is a virtuoso, but they more than deliver as a unit) and their ongoing political and social commitment, which still seems to be very much in evidence as far as I can tell from my meagre grasp of the Spanish lyrics. Viva la revolutionaries!


www.wrasserecords.com Jamie Renton


AL ANDALUZ PROJECT Al-Maraya Galileo GMC 039


Mara Aranda, Imam Al Kandoussi and Sigi Hausen, the three female singers who front this project


(from Spain, Morocco and Germany respec- tively) have subtly distinctive voices. Coming from Spanish group L’Ham De Foc and Ger- man group Estampie with backgrounds in medieval, early and world music, their approach guarantees thrilling attention to detail including singing old versions of mod- ern languages. The result is stunning when voices weave together moving in and out of each other or snake up and down modal scales, as with the lively Maravillosos, the 13th century Cantiga De Santa María when leads are swapped and choruses relished in partnership with swooshing harps and rhythms plucked on a host of strings.


Building on the success of the 2008 disc Deus Et Diabolus, the album is a flowing sequence of beautiful pieces with undulating melodies drawn from the combined Muslim, Christian and Jewish worlds. With Al-Maraya meaning The Mirror, many songs serenade the Virgin Mary, addressing her in both reli- gious and secular terms or a mixture of both. Songs like Dezilde A Mi Amor and El Regateo De Las Consuegras come from the Morrocan Sephardic tradition while Al-Garnati – El Bul- bul (The Nightingale) is Arabic.


Michael Popp leads a host of terrific musicians including Aziz Samsaoui on qanun and Sascha Gotowtschikow on percussion with some great tabla from Jatinder Thakur. Instrumentals like Segunda Twichia Istihlal are full of the bite of timbre and texture. For some reason (could be my equipment) I found it was only when I played the disc real- ly loud that I fully appreciated the stunning overall dynamic the recording captures. Can’t wait to see them live!


www.galileo-mc.com – distributed in the UK by Discovery: www.discovery-records.com


Jan Fairley VARIOUS ARTISTS


Africa – 50 Years Of Music Stern’s/ Discograph 3218462


Endless corridors, rooms of dance and medi- tation, exhortation and lamentation – folks, this is The Big One, Africa in a box. No less than 18 well-stuffed CDs and no bones about it, this package is a treat. A lot of very good music on it, a lot of directions for the adven- turous listener to pursue, plus, of course, all the old warhorses they couldn’t leave off.


The great journey starts in 1944 with Oum Kalsoum and ends with Angelique Kidjo in 2010 – so already this all-encompassing


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