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''ROCKERS MEET ADDIS UPTOWN'' EP
(ETIOPIA, 2010) @
...exploring themes of hope, tolerance and liberty.
A heady collision of musical genres and visuals...the musicians who strolled onstage alongside Page and O'Neil were Algerian violinist Mounir Baziz, Palestinian percussionist Iba Abu Khalaf and the Jordan-raised Palestinian singer/oud player, Nizar Issa. From the off they flawlessly meshed their live solos and Nizar's vocals with pared back, recorded rhythm tracks which allowed the audience to bathe in the sounds of the sweeping rhythmic brush strokes of the seven piece Pan Arab Strings Of Damascus.
Stepping out of the venue into the unrelenting rain, after being immersed in music that shimmered with the heat of the desert, should have been a complete downer but Syriana's widescreen, cinematic sound, where the John Barry Seven meets Marc Ribot meets Hank Marvin via Abdel Halim, Sabah and Asmahan carried this listener all the way home.
...highly evocative and atmospheric...
...Syriana did not disappoint. With the help of backing tracks featuring the Pan Arab strings of Damascus, the album's highly evocative and atmospheric pieces were transcribed very effectively to the stage with the addition of three talented musicians of various ethnic origins, all hailing from Arab countries.
Shades of Film Noir and spy stories, fighter planes, black and white photos of the Middle East in the 50s, desert landscapes and Cold War memories were all used to great effect in the thought-provoking and striking visual backdrop of the specially commissioned film and animation...The two songs "Gharibb" and "Al Araby" were velvety yet intoxicating...Three new numbers were played which clearly demonstrated that Syriana are here to stay and deliver their special brew of East meets West music. Let's hope so and wish them well!