3

Michel Sajrawy: Arabop

James Nadal By

Sign in to view read count
Michel Sajrawy: Arabop Arabian music is distinguished by its historical documentation as far back as the seventh century. If performed and heard today, it is readily identifiable for its distinct configuration or format, based on maqamat (modes) and jins (sets of notes), which provide its unique ethnic sound. Enter into this equation guitarist Michel Sajrawy, who catapults Arabian-derived music into the stratosphere with Arabop. He has perfected his ability to perform exotic arrangements on his trusted Fender Stratocaster by bending and coercing his strings into a swift sequence of microtones and quarter-notes, all done with cultural authenticity fused with rock, blues and bop.

The record opens with the brisk "Tojann," as darbuka percussionist Wissam Arram sets a frenetic pace for Sajrawy to exhibit his fluidity and skills. "Batumi," based on ancient Turkish traditions, is another ambitious number which evokes imagery of legendary kingdoms with a twist. Kudos must go out to accompanying saxophonists Amiram Granot and Maali Klar, for their outstanding melodic phrasings and interpretations on their featured tracks. While Sajrawy is, of course, the primary soloist, oudist Samir Makhoul instinctively intertwines his playing on "1 Count Before 40" and adds a spellbinding chant on the mellow "Ya Lel." This measured tempo, also evident on "Syncretic Beliefs," "Invention," and "Hal Asmar Ellon," allows the music to take a deep breath and expand into serious freeform contemplative space, meandering through the blues and ending with a festive take on the Egyptian classic "Longa Farah Faza," as a farewell to this melodic journey, covering vast terrain with new friends.

Sajrawy is a Palestinian Christian who has recruited premier Israeli musicians from Nazareth, where Arabop was produced and recorded. This should speak volumes in praise of the power of the music, and might explain the impressive energy level of this recording. Though this will be categorized in the media as world music, it is much more than that. It is a positive assertion that everything is possible.

Track Listing: Tojann; 1 Count Before 40; Arabop; Syncretic Beliefs; Batumi; Hal Asmar Ellon; Ya Lel; Invention; Longa Farah Faza.

Personnel: Michel Sajrawy: guitar, keyboard programming, electric bass (1, 3, 5, 9); Amiram Granot: sax (1, 3, 6); Maali Klar: soprano sax (1, 3, 5); Samir Makhoul: oud, vocal (2, 7); Valeri Lipets: contra bass (2, 4, 6-8); Wisam Arram: darbuka, shakers (1, 5); Stas Zilberman: drums; Nehaya Damouni: chant (1); Adnan Haddad: speech (4).

Title: Arabop | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Dasam Studio


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Swong" CD/LP/Track Review Swong
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "ScratchBop" CD/LP/Track Review ScratchBop
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Celebrating Elvin Jones" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating Elvin Jones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 11, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.