From Turkey to Israel to Algeria, American and European pop has been having a strong influence on Middle Eastern and North African artists. One of the many rewarding examples of this East-meets-West experimentation is Amina's Yalil, which finds the expressive singer combining a Middle Eastern groove with Western pop and dance music. On such intoxicating selections as "Mektoubi," "Le Cercle Rouge" and "Gallouli," the production is decidedly high-tech. Synthesizers, sequencers and drums machines abound, although traditional acoustic Middle Eastern instruments like the ney, the quanoon and the saz (a string instrument prominent in Turkish music) are also employed. Amina is heard in Arabic as well as French and English. This is a CD that admirers of East/West fusion shouldn't miss.
by Alex Henderson