Rabih Abou-Khalil

Yara

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AllMusic Review by

Of the many exceptional world music projects by the Lebanese oud master Khalil, this is one of the more intriguing cuts used from the soundtrack of the Yilmaz Arslan-directed film Yara. Though the verbose liner notes by Harry Lachner extensively describe music in movies, it gives little clue as to how this music connects to the flick. But the music of Khalil does stand beautifully on its own, generally of a very patient construct, the oud player joined by violinist Dominique Pifarely, cellist Vincent Courtois, and Nabil Khaiat on the frame drum. Selections flow freely into each other, much unison playing between the string instruments is prevalent, and Khalil takes the bulk of the lead, but Pifarely and Courtois have many opportunities to contribute melodically. Not nervous or anxious, those elements are stripped from this music; instead, virtues of trust and belonging are most extant. The gorgeous melding of these instruments on a lower key level is similarly expressed for "Requiem," "A Gracious Man" (for Rabih's father), "Grateful Parting," "The Passage of Life," and "Lithe Dream." The caravan like "Imminent Journey" is in 6/8 time, more Indian raga based, as is the slow "Puppet Master" and slower oud-frame drum-based "Bint El Bahr." "On a Bus" (to Beirut??) in 5/4 crackles with Khalil's riveting, forward-moving improvising. "Through the Window" is joyous, and seemingly free of structure, with no easily discernible meter. Haunting themes with only violin and cello for "The End of Faith" and the equally full group finale "The Knowledge of a Child" end the movie, and this set, on a remarkably somber note. There's pure wonder and revelation in this music. You'll have to see the film to get the full gist, but without the moving pictures, Khalil's unique music is indeed a moving experience in and of its own accord. Recommended.

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