Anouar Brahem’s ‘Thimar’ sets memories reeling into motion

Updated 17 May 2018
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Anouar Brahem’s ‘Thimar’ sets memories reeling into motion

  • Brahem’s sparse, maqam themes offer a skeleton frame for collective sound-scaping of the most intuitive kind:

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands: I can distinctly remember the first time I heard Anouar Brahem’s playing because the circumstances were so cinematically odd. As a wanderlust-struck student sitting in a café in Tangier, Morocco, a sketchy-looking local struck up a rapport and insisted on taking me to a nearby pirate CD shop, where he demanded the owner put on his favorite album.

The sounds which spiraled from the speakers were magical — a spellbinding swirl of oud, woodwind and percussion unlike anything I’d ever heard before. I bought the album on the spot. It was called “Madar” and was co-credited to Tunisian oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem. 

May 18th marks the 20th birthday of “Thimar,” arguably the most enduring recording of Brahem’s glittering, three-decade international career. Brazenly paired alongside two distinguished English jazzmen — bassist Dave Holland and saxophonist/clarinetist John Surman — the “transcultural” conceit exemplifies Brahem’s restless mission to transplant Arabic classical music traditions into an international, improvisational context.  

Brahem’s sparse, maqam themes offer a skeleton frame for collective sound-scaping of the most intuitive kind: Holland’s low growls and Surman’s plaintive cries a sympathetic sonic foil to the oud’s meditative meandering.

Tellingly, Brahem’s is the last voice to be heard, the oud only appearing half-way through the eight-minute opener “Badhra.”

There’s something special about the sparseness of “Thimar,” democratically colored by three largely monophonic instruments, like three wise men in a conversation. 

This is music to think to, not think about — sounds which fire up the synapses and set memories reeling into motion.   

 


Sony Music ends contract with US singer R. Kelly

Updated 19 January 2019
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Sony Music ends contract with US singer R. Kelly

  • The singer of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ fame — who recently announced a new album — has seen his reputation more and more seriously hard hit
  • Spotify announced in May it would drop the singer from its curated ‘playlists’

NEW YORK: Sony Music has called it quits with embattled singer R. Kelly, ending his contract with subsidiary RCA after a documentary aired accusing him of repeated cases of sexual abuse, media reports said Friday.
While Variety and Billboard reported the breakup, Sony Music did not immediately confirm it when contacted by AFP.
One woman who sued R. Kelly, accusing him of sexual battery, knowingly infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease and false imprisonment, also says he has threatened her.
Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred told reporters on Monday that her client Faith Rodgers, 20, faced “efforts to intimidate and retaliate” from Kelly after she filed the lawsuit now pending in New York’s Supreme Court.
And just after Rodgers testified in the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” that aired this month, her lawyers say Kelly and his team created a Facebook page — which the social media giant removed within hours — seeking to discredit accusers including Rodgers, posting “private” photos of her.
But the singer of “I Believe I Can Fly” fame — who recently announced a new album — has seen his reputation more and more seriously hard hit.
Calls for a boycott gathered pace in some measure thanks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and via the #MuteRKelly hashtag on Twitter.
Spotify announced in May it would drop the singer from its curated “playlists.”
The last straw was the broadcast in early January of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary in which several women accused the singer and producer, 52, of having sex with girls under the age of 16, and of having surrounded themselves with women whom he made sex slaves.