Friday, November 26, 2010

Middle Eastern West Indies?

An Italian [Luca Gatti], a Frenchman [Stephane Rene] and an Arab [Baheeg Ramzy Mikail] walk into a recording studio...

Seems like it could be the beginning of an off-colour joke, but it's actually the genesis of Diaspora and their new album A Jamaican In Cairo. As the title suggests, AJIC blends the seemingly disparate musics of Jamaica (dub and reggae) and the Middle East and North Africa(the Maqam, i.e. the Arabic scale system and Tunisian fundi rhythms) into an engaging and enjoyable album. No surprise that Gatti has in the past collaborated with Asian Dub Foundation, an act that successfully fused disparate sounds into something new.

I'm not entirely sure if Amina Annabi is an official member of the group or simply a guest vocalist (as she's credited on "Nile," one of the standout tracks), but Bob Andy [who has worked with Jackie Mittoo] and Raiz [who has worked with Bill Laswell and Massive Attack] most definitely are.

This 'project' is as good as the mental picture you get when you combine dub basslines with sitar, which to my mind is pretty darn good. For proof, visit Green Queen Music's Soundcloud page.

Be sure to visit the Diaspora Myspace page and their label page.

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