Thursday, September 23, 2010

CD Review: Syria's Zein Al-Jundi


Following up Zein's largely folk-based Traditional Songs From Syria (ARC Music, 2004), Sharrafouni, which means, "honored me with your presence", is an independent-minded production of Arabic pop music. Zein's music is a step in the modern direction without completely submitting to the more familiar confines of bass, guitar and drum beats. In effect, the music contains an Arabic pop element with a classical repertoire of violins, accordion, piano, qanun, oud, and nay flute. The Latin-tinged "Ya Habibi", flamenco-focused "Ajmal Gharam", and more rock-centered "Tab Toll" showcases Zein's musical abilities. The overall sound resembles that of Natacha Atlas' classical approach with a touch of Nawal Al-Zoghbi's modern pop. The title track, "Sharrafouni" is included as a classical/pop song with a dance remix version of the same song. Zein Al-Jundi is a great singer! ~ Matthew Forss

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