The debut album from aspiring culture-fusionist Claude Chalhoub. Chalhoub studied Western classical music under a scholarship to London's Royal College of Music, then began branching into Indian and Arabic musics, seeking inspiration. On his own, he is a stunning violinist (stunning enough to warrant the loan of a Stradivarius from the Stradivari Society for the purpose of recording this album). The compositions (mostly written by Chalhoub) consist essentially of a more-or-less Western classical idea being blended into a more Indian/Arabic flavor, with the addition of ethnic percussion. Perhaps the best highlight on the album is "Baddour," a song in memory of Chalhoub's sister, featuring vocals from Forroukh Fateh Ali Khan (brother of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and father of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan). All of the pieces do well. This is an East/West fusion, at least in theory. It does well in that it doesn't really overstep the boundaries of either culture in creating a bastardized worldbeat sound. The violin is the perfect instrument to cross cultures, as Chalhoub displays so well here. The collaboration isn't anywhere near the level of the classic Shankar-Menuhin albums, but again, it isn't nearly so bad as a number of various worldbeat attempts. The music stays calm and collected, and as such provides a beautiful texture for the average listener. For classical enthusiasts, the seeming references to various composers may also be a nice addition.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg