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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Rim Banna

By Robert Kaye
Published December 15, 2006

The Mirrors Of My Soul
Valley Entertainment

Palestinian vocalist Rim Banna and her predominantly European-based quintet have created a well-produced album that, while owing much to Western pop musical stylings, aptly showcases her compelling voice and lyrics. Most of the songs feature definitively Western instrumentation and character, even if the modal structure and vocals are derived from Middle Eastern sounds. While ostensibly making the album more accessible to a broad, presumably North American, audience, it can be argued that this overt leaning toward cotemporary rock/pop elements detracts from its potential power. Banna is a terrific vocalist, there’s no doubt of that; still, despite the collective talents of her ensemble, Banna’s creative abilities as a singer/songwriter might be better served if her music dipped deeper into the waters of the Suez versus the Danube or the Mississippi. While there is the presence of Arabic percussion instruments such as the darbukka, the rhythms and hence overall flavor is decidedly Occidental. If creating such an album was Banna’s goal, she succeeded. Nevertheless, authenticity-minded listeners may find themselves wishing for something more indigenous and thereby ingenious.