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2024 WORLD TOUR
#4 PALESTINE & ISRAEL

Spotify PLAYLIST
PALESTINE & ISRAEL

2024 World Tour #4 Palestine & Israel

2024 World Tour #4 Palestine & Israel

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2024 WORLD TOUR
#4 PALESTINE & ISRAEL ALBUMS

Itzhak Ventura - Ein-Sof

Ein-Sof

ITZHAK VENTURA

Released 29 March 2024

Raw Tapes Records

****-

 Ventura created this album to speak to the soul: “I want people to feel the connection of heart and spirit. The ney itself is a reed cut from its source; this sound reflects how we are also separated from the divine. And these songs bring us closer to unity.”

Ney (an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Arabic music.) artist, composer, producer & live performer Itzhak Ventura honed his skills growing up in the vibrant port city of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, his hometown and symbol of the resurgence of israel ethnic music.
Being widely regarded as a leading Ney player , he immersed himself in learning and exploring the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian Ney styles.
In addition to playing with The Jerusalem Orchestra East & West since its inception in 2009, he has played with renowned orchestras and musicians across a wide range of musical genres.
Ventura was inspired by some of the greatest Ney players in history and top present day musicians to create a new hybrid that combines ancient Ney flute sounds and motifs with contemporary sounds and production while maintaining the traditional sensibilities he was raised with.

With Ein Sof - which translates to 'there is no end'- Itzhak Ventura has created a mysterious, slowly-unfolding album pairing his fluttering ney with an ambient-electronic sound-bath from producer/musician Yuvi “Rejoicer” Havkin. The record, pushes the boundaries of the Raw Tapes label’s already-experimental, genre-blurring roster.

Ventura and Havkin converged in the studio in February, 2023, and immediately found their spark. The 10 tracks of Ein Sof pay homage to the classical tradition of the ney while adding electronic flourishes that help these recordings transcend anything that’s come before.


Note: SunNeverSetsOnMusic featured Venturer's previous album Aligned in our October 2022 playlist.

Read more ... Soundcloud, Bandcamp

~Palestine Flag Circular
Rasha Nahas - Amrat ا​م​ر​ا​ت

Amrat ا​م​ر​ا​ت

Rasha Nahas 

Released 20 January 2023

Rasha Nahas / Cooking Vinyl Records

****-

"A genre-defying, narrative-focused artist, driven by candid lyrics with disarming vulnerability, (who) has created a sound that moves seamlessly between the resonances of old school rock ‘n’ roll singer-songwriter era, and the heyday of ‘80s electronica".  

Palestinian singer, composer and instrumentalist Rasha Nahas has a distinctive approach to songwriting, storytelling and performance.

In “Amrat” (Sometimes in Arabic), Rasha Nahas enters new sonic territory with a bold, honest and nostalgic two-chapter album in Arabic language.

‘Amrat’ is a sentimental body of work. Structured as two distinctive chapters, the album conjures a sonic backdrop that is fluid yet clearly defined. It maneuvers seamlessly between the thematic duality of urban and rural landscapes– waltzing between contemporary electronica and the rawness of the old-school, singer-songwriter era.

The first chapter of Amrat was born of city streets, dipped in the sweetness of melancholia and the distortion of alienation. It was written in Berlin during the pandemic while Nahas cradled a hand injury that forced her to set the guitar aside and compose pain-free, electronic, music produced exclusively with synth loops, and in the comfort of her bedroom.

Chapter two of ‘Amrat’ is an anthology of songs inspired by the longing for rural scenery. With classical guitars at the core, Nahas’ signature songwriting is enveloped by tender vocals and an army of percussion that journeys across West Asia, North Africa, via Andalusia, and back to Berlin.

Read more ... Bandcamp

~Palestine Flag Circular
Mohamed Najem - Jaffa Blossom

Jaffa Blossom

Mohamed Najem

Released 2 February 2024

ADF-Bayard Musique/Mohamed Najem

****-

Inspired by numerous travels, Mohamed Najem's music offers a unique approach where the jazz aesthetic is nourished by purely oriental influences.  

Led by composer and clarinetist / ney artist Mohamed Najem, from Bethlehem, Palestine, the quartet moves effortlessly from one shore to the other, transforming Middle Eastern music into a new language.

While adopting a typical jazz combo instrumentation (piano, double bass, drums, rhythm), Najem's music is at the crossroads of three musical and instrumental cultures: jazz, classical music and oriental music. Inspired by the stories told to him by his grandfather, born in Jaffa (the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv has grown - "the bride of the sea and the city of oranges"), Mohamed draws from his travels and his memory the richness of his colorful melodies. He thus creates, beyond styles, a new musical language, nourished by oriental and contemporary accents.

Mohamed Najem (clarinet, ney, composition)

Clement Prioul (piano)

Arthur Henn (double bass)

Baptiste Castets (drums)

Guests: Youssef Zayed (oud, percussion)

Thomas Laurent (harmonica)

Read more ... Bayard Musique

~Palestine Flag Circular
Rejoicer - This Is Reasonable

This Is Reasonable

REJOICER

Released 12 April 2024

Circus Company

****-

This Is Reasonable is an album of compelling and bewitching melodies. The moods, peacefulness and sheer beauty of This Is Reasonable are, indeed, quite paradoxical, in stark contrast to the country's tragedies (the title explicitly refers to recent political disputes in Israel) and the war currently raging less than a hundred miles from his studio. A paradox fully embraced by the artist, who views his music as a response to the violence of our times. 


Yuval Havkin (Rejoicer) was born in Israel in 1985, and grew up in England before returning to his homeland. He began studying classical piano as a child, but was put off by such conservative teaching and turned to hip-hop and beat-making in his teens. Throughout the 2000s, he learned his skills "on the job", working with musicians he met in Tel Aviv, a local scene that nurtured a sense of community and emulation. Eventually discovering legendary musicians Madlib and Jay Dee aka J Dilla,

Now based between Los Angeles and Savyon, near Tel Aviv, this hyperactive and instinctive artist simultaneously pursues a career as a composer, musician and label owner, member of numerous bands and collective projects (Apifera, PlayDead, collaborations with Jimi Prasad and Avishai Cohen) while also offering his studios and production skills to other artists.

Read more ... Bandcamp

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Oded Tzur - Isabela

Isabela

ODED TZUR

Released 13 May 2022

ECM

****-

 Downbeat has described Oded’s playing as “quietly fantastical and full of narrative feints” while outlining his tone as “light and sweet, with a whispered airiness”. The saxophonist’s note-bending, microtonal technique, inspired by Indian classical instruments and touching the “barely audible”, is again at the heart of his voice and the melodies that protrude on Isabela.

On his follow-up to Here Be Dragons New York-based saxophonist Oded Tzur and his collaborators apply their subtle dialect in a more intense space, exploring the nuances and colours of the saxophonist’s self-fashioned raga in a suite-like sequence of quiet meditations and powerful exclamations. Throughout Isabela a heightened sense of urgency prevails, as Oded returns with his unaltered quartet to weave one underlying musical idea through a series of elaborate and impassioned designs. Since their debut appearance for ECM, the group’s interplay has grown more intimate on the road and the deep trust between the leader and his accompanists is a driving and binding force behind the music’s conceptual scope.

Once again joining Oded on his musical journey are pianist Nitai Hershkovits, bassist Petros Klampanis and drummer Johnathan Blake, who infuse the leader’s inventions with effortless musicianship and vivid imagination. Each a pillar in the contemporary jazz scene and with links reaching beyond the genre’s traditional format, the saxophonist’s collaborators are given “freedom to develop the music any way they want”, within the structures and possibilities the compositions offer. 

Read more ... ECM

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Shai Maestro - Human

Human

SHAE MAESTRO

Released 29 January 2021

ECM

****-

 "When working on Human, after writing each song and creating its universe I then just try to let it just be, without judgment because what I want to present is the human effort - and it’s full of opportunities, contrasts, colours, energy and life and is, finally, impossible to explain.”

In its review of pianist Shai Maestro’s 2018 ECM leader debut The Dream Thief, All About Jazz spoke of “a searching lyrical atmosphere, emotional eloquence and communal virtuosity that serves the music.” All of which also applies to Human, where Maestro’s outgoing, highly communicative band with fellow Israeli Ofri Nemheya on drums and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder becomes a quartet with the inspired addition of US trumpeter Philip Dizack.

Shai’s expansive pianism and differentiated touch is well-matched by Dizack’s alert, quick-thinking approach to improvising.

As ever, Maestro is taking the music forward while also respecting its sense of tradition, in a programme comprised almost entirely of original pieces, which explore a broad range of temperaments and colours.

Album title Human has special resonance for Shai Maestro: “I played music for many years, trying to make it be ‘above’ life - an isolated experience where I looked for transcendence, a sort of escape from everyday life. But the more I play, the more I understand that the very act of trying to reach this state prevents it from happening. So I started accepting music-making as a part of my everyday experience.

Read more ... ECM

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Kamilya Jubran, Sarah Murcia - Habka

Habka

KAMILYA JUBRAN, SARAH MURCIA

Released 22 September 2017

Abalone Productions

****-

Deeply connected to the Arab classical tradition and at the same time very modernist, the Paris-based musician has become a reference and a major influence for young artists in the creative scenes of the Middle East.

Kamilya Jubran grew up in Al Rameh - a Palestinian village situated in Galilée, in the north of Israel. Raised by her music loving parents, she was introduced and initiated to classical arabic music , and particularly by her father Elias Jubran - a music teacher and an instrument maker.

At the age of 18 Kamilya made her move to Jerusalem, where she studied at the Hebrew university, and simultaneously explored her new musical pathway by joining Sabreen group-based in East Jerusalem.

Kamilya Jubran is one of the very rare artists on the scene to have opened a space of reflection and creation to this place: by creating fertile associations with high-level Western musicians, by filtering classical sounds with improvisation as well as electronic environments, by basing her music on her choice of texts by great poets (Salman Masalha, Hassan Najmi, etc.) 

With the group she recorded four albums and toured in many local as well as international towns and cities. The very rich and intensive 2 decades of constant work with the group urged her to deepen her music research and consequently to shape and reshape her musical identity.

Before making the double bass her instrument of choice, Parisian artist Sarah Murcia studied piano (first at the CNR in Boulogne, then with François Bou), and the cello for a number of years. She began her apprenticeship in the classes of improvised music given by Manuel and Patricio Villaroel, later becoming a student of Jean-François Jenny-Clark. She obtained a degree in musicology at the Sorbonne and was awarded a prize in orchestration by the Schola Cantorum. 
For the last ten years she has played with the Magic Malik Orchestra, and Las Ondas Marteles (Nicolas et Seb Martel).
At the moment she is a member of the groups Beau Catcheur (duo with Fred Poulet), Sylvain Cathala trio (with Sylvain Cathala et Christophe Lavergne), and Pearls of Swines (with Fred Galiay, Franck Vaillant, Gilles Coronado). 

Read more ... Kamilya Jubran, Sarah Murcia

~Palestine Flag Circular
Infected Mushroom - Reborn

Reborn

INFECTED MUSHROOM

Released 9 February 2024

Infected Mushroom

****-

The combined force of Israeli producers Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani and Erez Eisen, Infected is world-renowned for their sonic innovations, genre-defying sound, and unrivaled production quality. 

After twenty-five years making waves in the scene, Infected Mushroom has earned their reputation as a groundbreaking legend in electronic music. Twice ranked amongst the world’s ten best DJs by DJ Magazine, with streaming numbers in the tens of millions and a cult following of die-hard fans, the Israel-bred, LA-based duo has created one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world of electronic music.

Their trademark sound is cultivated through hypnotic arrangements, layered melodies, and a willingness to blur the lines of genre. 

While widely recognized as pioneers of psytrance music, over the years Infected has demonstrated an ability to not only break the rules, but create their own rulebook entirely, and inspire other artists to do the same. Since 1999, they have been on a non-stop worldwide tour, selling out shows and headlining festivals around the globe. 

Following IM25, released in 2022 to commemorate their 25-year anniversary, Infected Mushroom is back with a new album offering a fresh take on some old classics.

REBORN features nine tracks, all of which are reimagined, re-recordings of old fan-favorites from the 1990s and beyond, including Release Me, Dancing with Kadafi, and Disco Mushroom.

The re-recorded tracks retain the original composition but with a tight, fresh sound production that brings the audio back to life in 2024.

Read more ... Infected Mushroom

~Palestine Flag Circular
TootArd - Migrant Birds

Migrant Birds

TOOTARD

Released 29 May 2020

Glitterbeat Records

****-

While proudly rooted in the Middle East, Migrant Birds is infectious and globally accessible. 

This inventive duo of brothers from the Golan Heights – Hasan and Rami Nakhleh – return with an infectious re-imagining of their sound. Jammed full of pop hooks and quarter-tone melodic lines, “Migrant Birds” unleashes a disco whirlwind that pays homage to the Middle Eastern dancefloor scenes of the 80’s. Retro funky meets hi-sheen contemporary.

It’s 1980. You’re in a disco, maybe in Beirut or Cairo, almost anywhere in the Middle East, lost in the colours and the lights, overwhelmed by the sound of drum machines and keyboards. It’s heady, it’s beautiful…but those days are long gone; maybe they were only ever just a fantasy. Real or not, they provide the inspiration for Migrant Birds, the new synth-powered album from TootArd that takes them to the dancefloor, about as far from the spare, guitar-driven desert blues of their highly touted Glitterbeat debut Laissez Passer, as it’s possible to go.

All through Migrant Birds, the focus is on songs that have plenty to say. Only one is an instrumental, the enigmatically-titled “Stone Heap of the Wild Cat.” It’s the name given to Rujm el-Hiri, a megalithic stone monument on the Golan Heights, as old as Stonehenge, close to where the Nakhleh brothers grew up. 

 

Source: Bandcamp

~Palestine Flag Circular
Avishai Cohen, Mark Guiliana, Sam Barsh, Amos Hoffman - Continuo

Continuo

AVISHAI COHEN

Released 13 October 2023

Radaz Records

****-

With Continuo, Cohen-the-gifted is back.

There are some memorable themes, and much fine spontaneous playing from Cohen and his partners, It all adds up to Cohen listening to himself again rather than second-guessing the punters

Prolific Israel-born jazz bassist, composer and singer Avishai Cohen (not to be confused with the fellow-Israeli trumpeter of the same name, whose recent albums are featured below), plays a sophisticated mix of post-bop and contemporary jazz infused with middle eastern traditions.

Since his emergence in Chick Corea’s trio in 1997, Cohen has become a global star for his bass sound that joins cello-like purity to percussive drama, and for original compositions embracing American jazz, Latin music, Sephardic-Jewish folk song, avant-funk, orchestral works, even pop-tinged vocals.

Cohen contributed all ten selections to Continuo and his bass dominates throughout, easily taking the most solo space.

His trio with pianist Sam Barsh and drummer Mark Guiliana is tight, often being joined by Amos Hoffman on oud.

The music is atmospheric, sometimes introspective, touched strongly by Western classical music and spontaneous in spots. Lovers of Avishai Cohen's bass solos will want this set although others will wish that there were more variety in frameworks and instrumentation.

Read more ... AllMusic, The Guardian

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Avishai Cohen - Tel Aviv Beyrouth Original Soundtrack

Tel Aviv Beyrouth

Original Soundtrack

AVISHAI COHEN

Released 17 February 2023

naiive

****-

Against the backdrop of the 1980s Israeli-Lebanese conflict, Tel Aviv Beirut (tel Aviv Beyrouth) powerfully portrays the journeys of two women separated from their families by the border and war.

Directed by Michale Boganim, Avishai Cohen composed the original music score and also makes his acting debut!

While Tel Aviv Beirut is ostensibly a war film, its drama revolves around the effects of war on those least responsible for it: women and children. Myriam and Tanya represent the real consequences of endless bombings and raids.Tel Aviv Beirut casts a sharp critical eye towards the treatment of the Lebanese refugees by Israeli society, but provides no easy answers.

Running just under 26 minutes, the soundtrack album is a brief listen, with half of the 10 tracks running less than two minutes and only three that develop beyond three. Nonetheless, the album is an enjoyable collection of engaging fragments that evoke the energy and musical flavours of the region.

As always with his work, Cohen effortlessly shifts between piano, percussion and brass as he responds to the requirements of the motion picture.

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Avishai Cohen Trio - Aisihai Cohen, Elchin Shirinov, Roni Kaspi - Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands

AVISHAI COHEN TRIO

Released 13 May 2022

naive

****-

Cohen’s vivacious bass improv and Shirinov’s contrastingly imperturbable lyricism glow through this fine set – and if the new tunes add few surprises to the leader’s signature songbook, the playing is incandescent.

Avishai Cohen’s 2021 album Two Roses was a sympathetic jazz/classical collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, while 2019’s Arvoles was the opposite: an elegant chamber-musical expansion of the intimacies of a jazz piano trio.

But Shifting Sands is something exhilaratingly different – starker, simpler, coming straight from the leader’s palpable delight in jamming with energetic kindred spirits after the isolations of the pandemic.

The pianist is Elchin Shirinov, the thoughtful but forceful Azerbaijani musician who played on both Two Roses and Arvoles, and the wild card is Roni Kaspi, the rising 21-year-old Israeli drumming sensation.

Cohen’s characteristically songlike themes abound: Intertwined’s churning eight-note piano hook beneath the folksy bass-led melody is badgered by Kaspi’s snappy, cross-grooving interjections; or in the brightly dancing The Window, Shirinov’s upturning elisions on resolving figures sound like the phrasing of a singer. The hymnal Dvash develops on an elegant piano/bass counterpoint (fitfully recalling the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet’s classic dialogues) but irrepressibly disrupted by Kaspi’s asymmetrical patterns, while the unison bowed-bass-and-piano whirl of Joy is a vehicle for her ferociously flat-out solo thrash against the quickly arriving hook.

Source: The Guardian

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Bashar Murad - Nafas (EP)

Nafas (EP)

BASHAR MURAD

Released 18 January 2024

Levantine Music / Bashar Murad

*****

This is bold, fervent music from an accomplished artist.

NAFAS is the new ep from Palestinian singer-songwriter, Bashar Murad. Murad is known for pop songs in English and Arabic in which he sings about topics such as subverting societal expectations, determination to be oneself, and life under occupation.
This new ep, consisting of three songs with lyrics in Arabic, includes a beautiful rendition of "Mawtini", a song written by Palestinian poet Ibrahim Toulan that has become an unofficial anthem for the Palestinian resistance.
The other two tracks are originals. The waltz-like title track, “nafas” (‘breath’), speaks to the experience of a queer person in an unforgiving environment who just wishes to peacefully exist. Murad’s use of the concept of outer-space, an analogy that has been evoked by many queer artists, captures the feeling of complete otherness that can arise when living in a society that does not accept you: ‘maybe it's best that I change myself / and become an alien man and settle on mars / make history and see the universe, that's waiting for me / and sleep next to the stars, in an alternate reality’.
Similarly, “Ya lel” is an ode to nighttime and darkness, in which Murad expresses the relief he feels when he can be alone; ‘the light exhausts me / my eyes are tired / leave the darkness for me / and let the night sing’.

Read more ... Queer Street

~Palestine Flag Circular
Faraj Suleiman - As Much As It Takes

As Much As It Takes

FARAJ SULEOMAN

Released 29 September 2023

Two Gentlemen, Schubert Music Publishing & Seochan

*****

​The album tells his story, from a youth torn between piano lessons and playing football with his mates, to the Montreux Jazz Festival, where he lived out his artist's dream.

Faraj Suleiman is a Palestinian a composer and pianist. His music is strongly influenced by Arabic/Eastern melodies and rhythms. He often incorporates those scales and modalities in his compositions.

In addition to being inspired by his Arabic culture, he is also influenced by Jazz traditions. As an Arab musician/pianist trained in classical music, he constantly searches for new forms of expression to equally appeal to his "Eastern" and "Western" listeners.​

To date, Faraj Suleiman composed several albums which have placed the "Eastern" piano in the centre of the composition, ranging from solo piano compositions to quartets, quintets, arrangements for choir and full orchestras.

 

Read more ... Faraj Suleiman

~Palestine Flag Circular
Reem Kelani - Why Do I Love Her?

Why Do I Love Her? (EP)

REEM KELANI

Released 1 February 2019

The Miktab Limited

****-

"Reem Kelani’s style is unique – she mimics no-one. Her musical project is based on the traditional, both in form and in presentation; it also encompasses dramatic expression, but without gratuitous vocal gymnastics. She is a Palestinian artist whose songs celebrate her heritage, whilst simultaneously acknowledging and conversing with other musical cultures."

Reem Kelani, the Palestinian singer, musician, musicologist and broadcaster, was born in England, brought up in Kuwait, and she now lives in London.

Reem is both bi-lingual and bi-cultural. She does her own research, composes and arranges her music, trains and leads her (mostly non-Arab) musicians in Arabic music, and sings. She is at once respectful of convention and highly innovative.

Reem’s profile in the Arab and non Arab world continues to grow in equal measure, all the more to her credit as an unsigned artist who has preserved her independence, musically, spiritually and politically.

Reem’s discography attests to her novel style as an artist and to her standards of production:

Her 2006 album “Sprinting Gazelle: Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora” is something of a classic of its genre with over 50 excellent reviews from across the world.

Read more ... All About JazzAl-Qabas, Kuwait (2019).

~Palestine Flag Circular
Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious

Big Vicious

AVISHAI COHEN

Released 27 March 2020

ECM

*****

“We’re all coming from jazz, but some of us left it earlier”, Avishai says, summing up the stylistic reach of his cohorts. “Everyone’s bringing in their backgrounds, and that becomes part of the sound of the band.”

Israeli master trumpeter Avishai Cohen (not to be confused with his better known bassist, composer, singer and compatriot of the same name) leads an electro-acoustic ensemble that includes guitarists Uzi Ramirez and Yonatan Albalak (also on electric bass) and drummers Aviv Cohen and Ziv Ravitz (who also did the live studio sampling), delivering a program of nine originals and two covers.

Cohen's writing is songlike and the band plays in a space that owes as much to rock as it does to jazz: most songs run less than five minutes and the melodies are often hummable. Along the way, there are stylistic forays into psychedelic rock, R&B and funk, Hebrew folk, and sound system electronica. Cohen's trumpet cuts in and out with a certainty of voice and tone that is unmatched in contemporary music, possibly since Miles Davis.

Avishai Cohen launched his exuberant, home-grown band Big Vicious around 2014, after relocating from the US to his native Israel, rounding up players to shape the music from the ground up, and co-authoring much of its newest material together with them.

 The group is an association of old friends. Textures from electronica, ambient music and psychedelia are part of the blend, so too grooves and beats from rock, pop, trip-hop and more.

Oh ... and this may be the best album cover we'll see this year.

Read more ... ECM

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Yosef-Gutman Levitt - The World and Its People

The World And Its People

JPOSEF-GUTMAN LEVITT

Released 9 February 2024

Soul Song Records & Yosef Gutman Levitt

****-

Yosef Gutman’s modest, soulful playing radiates a thoughtful beauty, a bright colored land of sound. A sound that’s drawn by the quill of the soul, tradition and world music influences, something completely unique and ever changing. A music that is rooted in Jerusalem but draws on global inspirations.

Bassist and composer Yosef Gutman Levitt of Jerusalem is back with a new and invigorating release: "The World And Its People", an absorbing follow-up to "Soul Song", his 2023 collaboration with guitar great Lionel Loueke (described as “a scintillating and sun-struck combination of ringing, gentle jazz and percussive African highlife that can only make you smile” ),

Leading a drum-less, chamber-jazz-newgrass foursome influenced in part by The Goat Rodeo Sessions (the 2011 collaboration between Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan), Levitt draws from deep within his soul on a collection of beautiful melodies, in deeply felt renderings from all involved.

The tracks are Levitt originals co-written and arranged by producer Gilad Ronen, with sterling contributions from Levitt’s close musical associates Tal Yahalom on nylon- and steel-string acoustic guitars, Omri Mor on piano and Yoed Nir on cello.

 

Read more ... Bandcamp

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Faran Ensemble - The Legend Of The Ocean And The Moon

The Legend Of

The Ocean And The Moon

FARAN ENSEMBLE

Released 3 August 2023

Raran Ensemble / Kame's

****-

Their journey, expressed in music and sound, reflects the beauty of nature, traveling through different sceneries, from the clean and quiet desert to luscious green hills, sometimes even passing through the hectic noise of the city.

The Faran Ensemble was formed in 2009 by three musicians sharing similar musical vibes and values, who decided to embark together on a spiritual quest.
Their instruments belong to the ancient traditions of the east, allowing the musicians to combine mystical sounds with modern influences. In their music, Mediterranean landscapes weave an enchanted soundscape, a magic carpet to take the listener on a voyage to faraway lands.
The ensemble’s name, Faran, refers to Wadi Faran, a dry desert riverbed which in winter fills with water and life and in summer is silent and pristine. The Faran crosses three countries but ignores all artificial human borders.

Source: America Israel Cultural Foundation

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Terez Sliman - When The Waves

When The Waves

TEREZ SLIMAN

Released 6 March 2020

Kirkelig Kulturverksted

****-

You won’t hear a better pop album this year. I doubt you’ll hear a better rap album this year. 

Palestinian singer-songwriter and composer Terez Sliman creates modern music in Arabic, combining pop hooks, electronic dance music, rock and trance-like mesmerizing musical soundscapes.

Her amiable approach and soulful exceptional voice has given her a truly unique career, being among the few independent singers who combines opposites and brakes the taboos in her lyrics and sounds, dancing effortlessly along the fine line between general and personal, at times she sings of the delights and sensuality of the body and at others about the revolutionary soul that resists dullness and aridity.

Terez is an independent Palestinian singer and songwriter, she launched her first major Concert Tour “Indi Kalam” (I've Got Something to Say) in 2010, when she was 24, and quickly become a well - loved name in the Palestinian indie music and in the Arab World.

On When the Waves, Sliman collaborated with fellow Palestinian composer and multi-instrumentalist Raymond Haddad. Raymond plays bass and also modular synthesizer and did the programming.
Two well-known Norwegian musicians also participate extensively in the album: Helge Norbakken on drums and Eivind Aarset who adds a wide-range of exquisite guitar sounds.

Read more ... Music GatewayWorld Music Central

~Palestine Flag Circular
DAM - Ben Hanna Wa Maana

Ben Hanna Wa Maana

DAM

Released 7 June 2020

DAM / Cooking Vinyl

****-

“The most entertaining, original and socially-engaged music to come out of the middle east” Martin Vennard, BBC World Service

DAM, meaning “ever lasting” in Arabic, is the first Palestinian hip hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic. DAM began working together in the late 1990s. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood in Lyd, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmood Jrere were inspired to tell their stories through hip hop. Later on In 2015 Maysa Daw officially joined the group and they released their first single together, “Who You Are”.

DAM’s sound is unmistakable. Their music is a unique fusion of east and west, combining fierceful Arabic rap with Arabic rhythms, Middle Eastern sounds and melodies, and deep bassy urban hip hop.

 

Read more ... Music GatewayWorld Music Central

~Palestine Flag Circular
The Synaptic - Al Qamar Wal Moheet

Al Qamar Wal Moheet

(The Moon and the Ocean)

THE SYNAPTIC

Released 14 November 2021

Warner Music

****-

While his 2018 debut Om Al Mawjat stayed true to his trap hip-hop aesthetic, the follow-up is a richer work, with dollops of RnB, dark ambience and inventive vocal delivery ranging from colourful rapping to an anguished croon. Almost every song, Al Husseini says, acts as a signpost from that internal journey.

Laith Al Husseini (aka The Synaptik) felt as though he were living two different lives.

During the day, the Palestinian-Jordanian talent was a fastidious medical student in Amman, while at night he stalked stages across the region as popular hip-hop artist The Synaptik. Such a lifestyle became increasingly unsustainable.
Al Qamar Wal Moheet is a document of self-discovery and acceptance. Brooding and at times haunting, the album finds Al Husseini refining and stretching his sound.

Almost every song, Al Husseini says, acts as a signpost from that internal journey.

Where previously, he blamed the medical profession for inhibiting his creative life, he realised it was the anchor allowing his music career to flourish, without him losing himself along the way.
It is for that reason Al Husseini began his internship in January in a Jerusalem hospital, with the goal of opening up his own clinic.

“It took us a while at first to see what we had in common because we come from completely different backgrounds,” he says.

"But we are humans and artists in the end. We have the same struggles that creatives go through in trying to be true to yourself and not lose yourself.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to integrity."

Read more ... The National

~Palestine Flag Circular
Noga Erez - KIDS

KIDS

NOGA EREZ

Released 14 March 2021

Nora Egez

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You won’t hear a better pop album this year. I doubt you’ll hear a better rap album this year. 

Five tracks into this new masterpiece by Tel Aviv-based singer/rapper/musician/producer Noga Erez, you will have stomped your living room to dust with more frenzy than you’ve felt since Missy dropped Under Construction.

It’s that addictive, that essential, that demanding of immediate and endless rewind, and it’s definitive and emblematic of how rap – so long seen as a fad that pop could utilise – has now swallowed pop whole.

Noga has several things in her favour. Her voice is a wonderfully malleable device that can slip from spitting fire to intimate croon to melodic whisper mid-line, mid-syllable. In an album that comes out of lockdown this ability of her voice to match the schizophrenic shifting of identities of a pent-up soul – to relate boredom, political fury, ennui, frustration, desire, and joy without needing to shift the musical material around it, is key. You feel like she’s your guide through Kids, and her voice can conjure the multitudes within her.

Musically, you’ve not heard sharper more addictive beats, rhymes and loops in 2021 – music Erez makes with her creative and life partner Ori Rousso, sometimes with a lovely melodic touch of Arabic/Israeli influences always neatly, never earnestly, reflecting her locale.

Oddly the act I’m most reminded of throughout Kids is OutKast – there's a similar sense of playfulness, of simultaneous grittiness and narcosis, of using hip hop not to prove anything authentic but as a collage-method of crafting the most compelling pop.

 

Read more ... The Quietus

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Noga Erez - KIDS (Against The Machine)

KIDS

(Against The Machine)

NOGA EREZ

Released 5 November 2021

Nora Egez

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These versions became instant faves for many - for those who love the more organic, woody and brassy sound.

The KIDS AGAINST THE MACHINE series that Ori Rousso and I started was something we mainly did for fun; a way to challenge ourselves. We wanted a chance to show each other and our fans that these songs could be reimagined without our signature electronic productions.
This whole KATM project instantly took on a life of its own and because of how much fun it was to create, we ended up working on an entire album, but arranged and produced without any ‘machines’ and played live by our talented musician friends and accompanied by the incredible NONA kids choir." - Noga Erez

 

Read more ... Bandcamp

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Gilad Hekselman - Life, at the Village Vanguard
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Life, at the Village Vanguard

GILAD HEKSELMAN

Released 5 April 2024

La Reserve Records

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Gilad Hekselman is one of today's most prominent jazz guitar players. The winner of Downbeat's 2017 Rising Star Guitarist and producer of 10 award-winning albums under his own name, he tours extensively world-wide with his own band and is the sideman of choice for many top artists on the New York jazz scene.

The Israeli-born Hekselman, leads an elite quartet, with pianist Shai Maestro and drummer Eric Harland from the guitarist’s stellar 2002 Far Star (Edition) along with esteemed bassist Larry Grenadier.

The guitarist is already in the same conversation with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Pat Matheny in terms of his crystalline, warm tone, clear articulation, and far-ranging improvisational ideas.

This marks his eleventh album as a leader, and many of the greats of comparable ilk as these three have graced his albums. (Only the best gets a week-long residency at The Village Vanguard).

Two of the tracks are from Hekselman's 2022 masterpiece, Far Star, with a cover of John Coltrane’s “Equinox” and Matt Dennis’ “Everything Happens to Me.”

The other two are originals.

Shortly after inking the agreement for the five-night Village Vanguard booking for the recording of this album, the guitarist and his wife found out she was pregnant and expecting that same week. Long story short, they prepared for the birth at home with a midwife and less than two hours before the guitarist was due onstage for his fifth show, his wife delivered their baby girl.

With everyone safe and resting, and with his wife’s approval, Hekselman rushed to the gig, arriving to a giant ovation from the crowd who had been alerted to what was happening. On the unedited recording of the moment, you can hear the beaming guitarist, saying to his band, “I just want to make music now.”

Read more ... Palmetto Records

Nai Barghouti - Nai 1

Nai 1

NAI BARGHOUTI

Released 30 June 2022

Nai Barghouti / EMPIRE

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Ever charismatic, prolific and inspired, Grammy-nominated clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence.

Announcing her debut album, Nai Barghouti  wrote, “We worked so hard to make this album come to life from our hearts to yours".

Barghouti, was born in Ramallah, the West Bank in 1997. Both her parents are involved in the world of art and music, and her older sister began taking violin lessons at the Edward Said Conservatory in Ramallah at an early age.

Barghouti began her singing career in 2011, at the age of 14, performing Arab Tarab.

In May 2019, Barghouti graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam with distinction, and began studying for a Master's degree in music at the same institute.

Fusing jazz and Middle Eastern sounds, Barghouti performed several concerts in the Middle East and Europe. She has been in the limelight for her renditions of covers of Fayrouz and Rahbani Brothers' music.

Her single duet with Skrillex, XENA (from their outstanding 2023 album "Quest For Fire"), is a total UFO and a phenomenal success.

If you don't know Nai Barghouti, get ready to plunge into a musical universe of dreamy, enchanting melodies, carried by the most remarkable voice of the moment.

Over the last three years, her vocal mastery has set many stages alight, and now it's the Bataclan's turn on 12 May 2024 for an emotional concert, so take your place!

Read more ... Ahram Online, Bataclan

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Al Fajer Group - Al Fajer (The Dawn)

Al Fajer (The Dawn)

Al Fajer Group

Released 30 June 2022

Nai Barghouti / EMPIRE

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London based, the Majazz project is an archival record label reissuing and remixing vintage Arab vinyl and cassettes and an alternative research platform. 

The 2023 release by the Al Fajer Group was established in Kuwait in 1987, co-founded by four artists: Sima Kanaan (Vocals), Bashar Shammout (Guitar) Jameel Saraj (Oud and Guitar) and Nizar Alyan (Percussion).

Al Fajer Group became known for their unique frequencies and the transparency of their sound. The band is rooted in acoustic oud, guitar and percussion and they never used any electronic equipment during their sets.

When they were first established they would perform Palestinian patriotic songs, related to the Palestinian liberation struggle.

They released their launch album, recorded on reel tapes, during the First Intifada in 1988, after which they began composing and writing their own original music. They were unable to release this due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, when all the band members were forced to leave the country and could not reunite to release the second album. During the limited time in which they were able to work together, they participated in multiple tours in Kuwait, Iraq, Germany and other locations.
This is the first vinyl release for the band and includes original music, which has not been available until today.

Read more ... Bandcamp

~Palestine Flag Circular
47SOL - Semitics

Semitics

47SOL

Released 21 April 2020

Cookling Vinyl

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An electro-mijwez, shamstep, choubi band. The Palestinian-Jordanian outfit 47 Soul single-handedly sowed the seeds of the shamstep genre, combining the sounds of Dabke with Western electronica, as heard on their groundbreaking 2015 debut EP Shamstep.

There has long been a link between music and resistance in Palestine - with hip hop playing a major role in recent years – but there has never been a band quite like 47SOUL. Originally formed in Jordan, and with members now scattered between Palestine, London and the USA, they have pioneered a unique style that they call Shamstep, in which hip hop and electronica are fused with Middle Eastern-influenced melodies and styles, including shaabi, the pop music of the Levant and dabke traditional dance music. Semitics, their third release (and second full album) mixes stomping, no compromise dance music with powerful new songs and challenging, thoughtful lyrics in both Arabic and English.
Semitics is never predictable, with each song constantly shifting between different textures and tunes, as different band members provide the vocals. And this time round there are an impressive array of special guests adding to the mix.
The album was recorded in London and it includes a cast of London-based artists from around the world, from the German-Chilean MC Fedzilla to the British-Iraqi rapper Lowkey and British Palestinian rapper and s