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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

THE KING’S SINGERS/SARBAND

By Tom Orr
Published June 27, 2006

Sacred Bridges
World Village

If ever the world needed the kind of togetherness captured on this album, it’s now. The Psalms of David, revered by the major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—are here rendered musically by the King’s Singers, a versatile sextet with three decades’ experience singing just about anything, and Sarband, an instrumental ensemble specializing in early Arabic cross-cultural music. Sacred Bridges is 70 minutes of unspoiled beauty, interpreting the Psalm-influenced works of 16th and 17th century composers Salamone Rossi, Claude Goudimel, Jan Pieterzoon and Ali Ufki. The lovely polyphony of the King’s Singers permeates like voices from heaven, whether acappella or graced by the yearning strings, reeds and percussion of Sarband. It’s mostly slow, solemn and spatial, befitting the meditative nature of the particular Psalms set to music and the mystic traditions that distinguish much of what is good about all three of the faiths represented. In these sounds church, mosque and synagogue become one, and a God who must surely prefer unity over conflict is rightly praised by singers and players seeking to bridge that which divides us.