Sunday, January 16, 2011

CD Review: Morocco's Majid Bekkas

Majid Bekkas

Hailing from Morocco, Majid Bekkas is a classically-trained guitarist, keyboardist, oud player, singer, and guimbri player that explores the blues and soul music of North Africa. The accompaniment of guest musicians, including Minino Garay on bass and percussion, Aly Keita on balafon, Serge Marne on djembe drum, Joseph Bessam Kouassi on talking drum, and many others, gives Makenba a more universal appeal beyond Africa's natural borders. In fact, "Ali Ya Ali" is a distinctively traditional tune with Caribbean and Gypsy elements. The saunteringly beautiful "Sahara Blues" is an epic in its own right. The tune spans the sounds of the Sahara, while faint Latin American sounds shine through. Of course, Gnawan trance music is a part of the repertoire, but it does not delve into boring doldrums as the Master Musicians of Jajouka often do. Though not necessarily a fusion album, Makenba is varied enough to keep it interesting without sacrificing creativity, musicianship, or culture. ~ Matthew Forss

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