Consumer Guide Album
Marcel Khalifé/Mahmoud Darwish: Andalusia of Love [Nagam, 2016]
I can't swear how often I'll pull it out now that I've finally concluded that, mere exotica though it may be, this suite of settings for love poems by the late Palestinian poet Darwish is eminently worth reviewing. Playing it only when I felt the need for something quiet that would still qualify as work, I've never failed to find its placidity intelligent and beautiful. The auteur is Lebanese oud maestro Marcel Khalife, the ensemble his son Rami on piano, his son Bachar on percussion, and Jilbert Yamine on the harplike qanun. Conceptually, this quiet, emotional, sometimes lively, always intense, nonetheless calming music is said to fuse two things: first, the same longing for physical love--not mere sex, eros--you get in Omar Souleyman's macho dance workouts, and second, an intellectual nostalgia for the pre-Columbian Andalusian accord, where Jews, Christians, and of course Muslims lived together in harmony in the south of Spain, supposedly. In short, an honorable and even inspirational prayer for peace.