Line Monty

Tresors de La Chanson Judeo-Arabe (Jewish-Arab Song Treasures)

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Line Monty died in 2004, but this compilation does a very good job of keeping her memory alive. Although the title might indicate a deep level of seriousness, in many ways this is cabaret music from the Middle East, elegant but with an edge of decadence. That Monty had star quality is immediately evident in these vintage tracks (although no recording dates are supplied) -- she vamps and preens in a wonderful way that sometimes almost teeters on the edge of camp, but never falls too far. In many respects, her singing is the least important part here; like Eartha Kitt, she's a presence, a force of nature on the songs. The glorious mix of East and West serves to heighten the exotic atmosphere, and mention must be made of legendary pianist Maurice el Medioni, whose contributions form the musical spine here, both as writer and performer. This disc won't change your life, but it will offer an insight into a time and place -- and it will also make you smile.

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