Sabri Moudallal

Aleppian Music Room

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A nice introduction to the music café culture of Syria. The Aleppian music rooms are essentially a venue of cafés or private abodes wherein musical parties may take place. Here, the ensemble plays in the palace of the qanun player (originally from France) Julien Jalal Eddine Weiss. The performers run through a number of the various vocal styles in the repertoire, along with a few instrumental passages (the taqsim-s). The instrumentalists certainly perform at the level necessary to make a nice album, and the power of the vocalists adds to that, completing a nice ensemble of musicians. What one will hear on this album is a nice mix of vocal styles, all performed by a pair of masterful singers. Without knowledge of Arabic, the music might become slightly redundant after a time, with song lengths stretching further than the average Western pop, but that's to be expected in the Middle Eastern styles. Any incoming listener wishing to know what the sounds of Syrian classical forms are would find this a valuable double album to listen to. The variety of various Islamic musics is stunning, and this is another installment that one ought to look up when covering the whole of the spectrum (though the Music of Islam series on Celestial Harmonies might lend itself to such a quest better). The bilingual and extremely extensive liner notes make an added bonus.

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