Souad Massi

DEB

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AllMusic Review by

The sophomore album from the "Arabic Tracy Chapman." While that would imply a deep folk-guitar base for her music, that's really not the case. What the album is made of is an extremely eclectic mix of sounds. The base for it all is in Algerian and Andalusian musics, with rai, flamenco and Arab classical music being the main keystones. On top of that, though, is layer after layer of other genres. Western folk is certainly one of the top factors in some of those, as well as hints of Western classical music in the backing violins and cellos that show up from time to time. East African jive and West African juju both seem to make appearances for a time, and hints of tabla from the subcontinent also creep in when you're not paying attention. The main highlight of the album isn't so much the eclecticism though, as it is Massi's abilities in songwriting, singing, and on the guitar. Her voice projects the proper emotion for powerful flamenco vocal runs, and soft French songs alike. Equally versatile, her guitar can make flamenco solos and folk-rock runs easily, along with more careful ballad picking. It's a very versatile album, with some top-notch musicianship from Massi, as well as some top-notch songwriting. Pick it up for a nice relaxed listen.

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