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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa


Published May 2, 2006


U.S.-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Yuval Ron has a cross-cultural agenda: to take sacred music of the Middle East’s three major religions and sit them together in reflective, at times beautiful, settings. Effectively a synthesis of earlier film soundtrack collaborations between Ron and Turkish virtuoso Omar Faruk Tekbilek, this is cinematic, evocative material. The album was recorded in Hollywood and on location in the Sinai desert. The field recordings include traditional bedouin songs and arguably too many desert wind sound effects. According to the liner notes, violinist Yair Dalal also recorded on the dunes. If true, his parts are as astonishing for the technical achievement as for exquisite playing. At times the album betrays its soundtrack roots and feels made up of musical cues orphaned from their original scenes, but the music is nonetheless genuinely haunting and the downbeat, meditative tone compelling. An exception is “Baburi” which, powered by a driving beat and strident zurna riff, could easily pass for a global dance cut.