KHALIFA OULD EIDE & DIMI MINT ABBA: MOORISH MUSIC FROM MAURITANIA
We will deviate from our normal policy of not gushing about music with hope of making it abundantly clear to you that this is a beautiful album.
Eide plays the lute. Abba sings. Another album which is not a collection of aural entertainments but eleven signposts in the dark on how to live, care, give thanks, and call out to a God who does not answer. One of Terry Riley's favorite albums, its sound is an excellent counterpoint to that of Tinariwen.
Both are heavy on drone and rolling percussion, but whereas Tinariwen is steeped in the dissolute and simmering fury of the blues, befitting a group composed of homeless, malodorous insurgents, Eide & Abba's music emanates from a near Apollonian serenity, most of all thanks to Abba's stunning voice. The youngish, female background singing deepens a sense of ritualistic, harmonious accord. Not to say that Eide & Abba lacks in urgency or uncertainty, as songs like "O Lord, Bring Apartheid Crashing Down!" can attest to.
The contrast can be understood topographically. Tinariwen, guerrillas of the Touareg culture, sing of the desert, and their ceaseless wandering: "I've never seen enough trees to make a forest". Interminably traversing an inhospitable surface. The sound of Eide & Abba produces a vision of musical group, not a band, in both sense of the word, a group, maybe made in part of women from the neighborhood, a settlement, where no one for generations has had to scratch the earth on a camel and not bathe so much. The players sit in a circle and their voices raised together connect the human dwelling with the earth and sky. Meanwhile, the Tinariwen set up camp, clean their rifles, tune guitar strings, and wait for night to fall.
Editor's note: Only the Eide & Abba album is available here because it's out of print. You should go buy the Tinariwen and support them or they might come for you.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Posted by William at 11:05 AM