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The Art of the Middle East
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Charbel Rouhana (vocals, oud, percussion); Charbel Rouhana; Tania Saleh, Rima Khcheich (vocals); Imane Homsi, Imane Homsi (qanoun); Antoine Khalife (violin); Samir Siblini (ney); Abboud El Saadi (acoustic bass); Albert Rouhana, Tony Anka (tabla); Ali El Khatib (rik); Bassam Saleh (double bass).
  • Liner Note Authors: Charbel Rouhana; Diz Heller.
  • Recording information: Lebanon Recording Studio, Balloune.
  • With the subtitle 'New perspectives on traditional maqams, it's obvious that oud player Charbel Rouhana plans on using the Arabic scales -- known as maqams -- in a slightly different manner. And often he puts them in different contexts, like the Armenian-flavored "Ourakhoutyoun," which bounces around gleefully with an accordion, or "Forward," with its very jazz fusion touches. Inevitably the oud is the prominent instrument throughout, with Rouhana an inventive but thoughtful and imaginative player. He also offer some excellent arrangements for his group, mixing Middle Eastern and Western instruments in an interesting fashion. There's also room for improvisation; on "Rewind," for example, the oud and violin play off each other magnificently. What Rouhana is doing is similar to the path of a few others, but it's all reinventing the tradition, which is necessary for it to move forward. ~ Chris Nickson
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