Friday, July 8, 2011

CD Review: Ghalia Benali's 'Romeo & Leila'

Romeo & Leila

A Belgian/Tunisian singer, Ghalia Benali, tells the story of two different people, Romeo & Leila, throughout the nine tracks. The story of Romeo & Leila is as powerful as the stories of Romeo & Juliet or Layla & Majnun. However, Ghalia sings in literary Arabic to capture the magical feeling of the language and movement of the story. The music is very akin to Azerbaijani folk, Turkish folk, or North Africa traditional music. Ghalia's vocals are very moving and equally in stride with the oud, cello, double bass, and assorted percussion. Overall, the music is rather traditional in scope. The instrumental segments are a perfect accompaniment between Ghalia's vocal sections. Though, it is a joy to hear both her voice and the instruments in tandem, too. Fans of North African music, folk and classical music of Central Asia, and female vocal music will find happiness and love with Romeo & Leila. Liner notes are in English and French. ~ Matthew Forss

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