By way of Baghdad and Moorish Spain comes the Arabo-Andalusian music of North Africa. Much credit for the development of this more than 1,000-year-old genre is often given to the Cordoba-dwelling, Persian- and Arab-educated musician Ziryab. He is given particular kudos for creating a suite of classical-poetic songs known as the nawba (they are also variously called nuba and/or nawabt). Though there used to be a particular nawba for each hour of the day, today only a fraction of the original twenty-four remain. On this CD, Chant Arabo-Andalou (Arabo Andalusian Song), oud (lute) player and vocalist Habib Guerroumi tackles the nawba sika all by himself. Though Nawbas are usually played by an ensemble of instrumentalists and vocalists, Habib Guerroumi captures the essence of this particular suite with articulated oud playing and strong vocal clarity. Despite the hyperbolic notes on the back of the CD that lionize Arabo-Andalusian music as being "the most advanced form of North African music," Habib Guerroumi's Chant Arabo-Andalou (Arabo Andalusian Song) is nevertheless an impressive fete that deserves repeated listenings.
AllMusic Review by John Vallier