Friday, March 7, 2014

CD Review: Ahmed's 'Dhaalu Raa'

Dhaalu Raa
Asasi Records

Ahmed Nasheed hails from The Maldives--a tiny group of islands off the coast of India. Ahmed weaves melodies and rhythms of The Maldives with acoustic and electric guitars, drums, sax, percussion, bass, organ, and euphonium. The contemporary instruments are played right alongside traditional, percussion instruments, such as boduberu and dhandi. The soft and laidback "Dhiyaanaage Huvafen" is poignant and emotive with arrangements akin to Daby Toure of West Africa. The upbeat "Alifuthu" provides lots of log drum rhythms and rockin' guitars in a pop-focused arrangement. "Dhoni" contains great vocal harmonies and sweet guitar sounds in a classic, laidback melody that resembles world folk at its best. "Magumathi" is a jazzy and punchy tune with guitar rhythm rich in roots and fusion. "Manjemen" is another stellar track with soft vocals and light guitar work. The rock guitar elements electrify the notes on "Rasge." Overall, the songs are sweet and melodic with very inviting elements from an ocean community rarely heard in the West--or other places, for that matter. Think of Gurrumul meets Daby Toure. Take a trip to The Maldives and let Ahmed be your musical guide. ~ Matthew Forss

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