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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa


Published June 4, 2006

Hassouna Bangaladish
ARC Music

What one hears nearing the Sudan is extraordinary. The funky rhythmic grooves of Hamza el-Din—the oud player whose Nonesuch disc Escalay: The Water Wheel, was a breathtaking introduction to this remote Nile region of Nubia—begin where Egyptian influence was ebbing. Sudan, Africa’s largest country, has a mixed ethnic scene: Northern Arabs are enslaving southern blacks with little fuss by the international community. Their musics are indeed different. Examples of Southern music have unique handmade instruments (double reeds, lutes) and swaying multiple rhythms. The disc we have here represents a group assembled in the capital Khartoum. Hassouna is the vocalist, singing traditional melodies that sound like those one expects to hear in the large city’s tea houses or shisha (hookah) parlors, accompanied by hand drums, lut