Archives de la Musique Arabe, Vol. 1 is the Arabic equivalent of the earliest Yazoo recordings (i.e., taken from old 78s dating from the first quarter of the century; in this case, 1908-1920). Consequently, the sound quality is often quite rough, and there is never a lack of surface noise. However, this is amazing music of great historical importance, so many listeners will not have a problem overlooking the record noise. The Ocora label, in conjunction with the Institut du Monde Arabe, presents historic early recordings of such influential and famous musicians as Egypt's Yusuf al-Manyalawi and Abduh al-Hamuli. Among the artists' repertoire are qasidas (improvisation on classical poems), a dawr (chant with improvisation and refrain), a bashraf (instrumental overture), and a taqsim (instrumental improvisation).
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne