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Abdel Ali Slimani ''Mraya'' (Argelia, 1996)

23/01/2011 13:43 0 Comentarios Lectura: ( palabras)

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ABDEL ALI SLIMANI 

''MRAYA'' 

(ARGELIA, 1996)    @

No sólo tiene todos los ingredientes para gustar, sino que además es bueno. Slimani se las arregla para fabricar una música compacta, envolvente, y lo hace con músicos de primera. Además, consiguió en esta ocasión que Sinéad O'Connor se interesara por su trabajo y le hiciera algunas segundas voces. Y que Virgin le produjera el disco, y que se lo distribuyera la prestigiosísima Real World Records. O sea: la pera. Pero hay algo -un pequeño algo, un algo apenas- que me mosquea. Lo noto en esos mítines en francés que se echa en medio de las piezas, diciéndonos lo muy hermanos que somos todos los humanos y lo mucho que deberíamos querernos. Lo noto también en la estética narcisita de la portada. Hay algo que suena a hueco. No en la música. (¿O también? No lo sé: tampoco soy tan experto en música magrebí.)

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To say Mraya is a vision of Algerian rai refracted through a sympathetic British prism sounds like a harsh criticism, but it's true. Abdel Ali Slimani has sung with bassist Jah Wobble, and he returns the favor here, bring not only his own talents, but Justin Adams on guitars and oud, and drummer/programmer John Reynolds, along with singers Natacha Atlas and Sinead O'Connor — essentially the Invaders of the Heart posse. And what they do is excellent, to be fair. You'd be hard-pressed to know these players weren't from the Maghreb, especially Adams and Reynolds, who provide the bulk of the instrumental support. Slimani's songs are little gems, maybe not with the fire of a Khaled or a Cheikha Remitti, but worthy of repeated listenings. He pulls not only from the pop rai that swept Algeria in the '80s, but also from Egyptian sha'bi music, with its street rawness, and his singing voice has a raspy edge.

imageThe production, however, couldn't be anything but Western, with its sonic depth and smoothness — missing the rough edges of an Oran studio. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, since that's how the album was conceived, and it works within that frame work, with the title track in particular a standout, with its contributions from O'Connor, cellist Caroline Dale, and darbuka player Nacer Khenniche, the music simmering before exploding in wonderful, fiery fury. And so, ultimately, it's successful on its own terms — the problem is defining exactly what those terms are.

Chris Nickson

1. Laziza 2. Habibti3. Zeyna 4. Mraya 5. Yasmin 6. Alger 7. Hadi8. Ana Guellile9. Ana Guellile Dub

CreditsNatacha Atlas - Vocals Caroline Dale - Cello Mark Ferda - Mixing Carol Isaacs - Accordion Jah Wobble - Bass, Executive Producer Sinéad O'Connor - Vocals John Reynolds - Drums, Programming, Vocals (bckgr), Producer, Engineer Abdel Ali Slimani - Vocals, Darbouka, Bendir, Tar Rob Santos - Translation Justin Adams - Guitar (Electric), Vocals (bckgr), Spanish Guitar, Assistant Producer Justin "Scarecrow" Adams - Guitar (Electric), Vocals (bckgr), Spanish Guitar, Assistant Producer, Ud


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