Sunday, May 31, 2009

While I think not technically a "song," the declamatory tajwid (Qur'anic recitation) of Abdul Basit 'Abd us-Samad is startlingly musical. Born in Southern Egypt in 1927, he is said to have memorized the Qur'an by the time he was 10. Although based in Cairo, he traveled the world reciting and was particularly known for his rendering of the seven verses of the Sura al-fatiha. It's interesting to hear the differences from a recitation in Urdu, like the one below by Sadaqat Ali, having (to my ear at least) more similarities to the rhythm and tone of Qawwali singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Ahlul Bayt

Abdul Basit 'Abd us-Samad recites Surah Balad

Sadaqat Ali recites Surah Fatiha

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan -- Jhoole Jhoole Lal
Weary voiced singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson drags her words out lusciously and bumpily. Not that she's not happily melodic, but like Chris Pureka or Sarah Bettens there's a sharp intersection where the story of the song grabs you as well as the sound of the song (I hope that makes some small bit of sense. It is what I meant to say. If it's confusing, go listen to "Burning Bridges" (esp. the part about the glasses) or "Come Over Here" to see what I mean). She's playing tonight if you happen to be in Massachusetts.


Home (live)

Chris Pureka -- Burning Bridges (Live)

Sarah Bettens -- Come Over Here (Live)

Her MySpace
and website

Buy Meg Hutchinson at Amazon

Friday, May 29, 2009

Well this will wake you up...
I'm not quite sure, but the Fairline Parkway may be already defunct. The problem clearly was a lack of caffeine. And they seem to have a problem counting as well, claiming to be the duo of childhood friends Zachary Okun and Raj Gadhia (though yes there are clearly four people in that picture.) Making gentle meandering music that reminds me quite a bit of Neal Halstead, they were from Austin and played around in West Texas for a while before going their separate ways recently.

Robbed Blind

Live at the Black Cat Washington DC

Their MySpace

Buy Fairline Parkway at Amazon

Monday, May 25, 2009

The opening of many of her songs lead you to expect it to be bhangra, but Hasna is a Moroccan singer now based in Paris. She has an intriguing tone to her voice -- almost scolding at times -- while her lyrics actually are quite swirling and poetic with
lovely imagery. She also has done some beautiful collaborations with Flamenco musicians.

Shofo Shofo

Marsoul El Hob (Music Video)

Buy Hasna at Amazon