Abdel Aziz / Abdel Aziz el Mubarak

Abdel Aziz el Mubarak

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Sudanese pop swings mightily: As percussionists lay down a fluidly syncopated bongo beat, strings, accordion, saxophone, guitar, and bass swirl around the singer's impassioned poetry. Abdel Aziz el Mubarak is such a singer, and his ten-piece group delivers a floating groove perfect for the sun-drenched Sudan. This 1987 LP, a eponymous release on Globestyle, is the ideal place to hear them. Born out of tradition and the demands of close to 20 weddings engagements a month, Mubarak and company dig in here for five extended cuts, ranging from the almost calypso-like "Tarig Ash-Shoag" to an agitated, driving "Ah'Laa Jarah" -- violins speak romantically of balmy, moonlit nights, while saxophones punctuate the air with insinuating heat. So, cancel that DJ, get on the horn to Khartoum, and prepare yourself for some truly fine nuptial dancing.

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