Nomad: Best of Amina

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In many ways, Amina's become as much French as Tunisian, since that's where her career's been based, although her North African roots often shine through on this collection, which really is, for once, a greatest-hits package. From 1991 Eurovision Song Contest winner "Le Dernier Qui A Parle" -- for once a truly adventurous piece of music in a competition which generally aims for the lowest common denominator -- to two new tracks, "Ya Baba" and "Ederlezi," she shows a path that can easily embrace both pop (the French hit "Dis Moi Pourquoi") and the more radical "C'est Gai," which brings in dub and Malian flute, thanks to producers Renegade Soundwave. There's also plenty of West African influence, thanks to ongoing collaborations with Senegal's Wasis Diop, who co-wrote both "Le Dernier Qui A Parle" and "Digge." However, probably the most singular track has to be here remake of "My Man," originally a French torch song, but now most strongly associated with diva Billie Holiday. This take brings in swooping Egyptian strings, with Amina's voice at the most quavering and emotional, giving the song an impact equal to its most famous version. As much as the performances here, what strikes the listener is the range of Amina's musical vision: restless, maybe homeless, but continually searching.

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