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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Daoud & Saleh Al-Kuwaity

By Matt Cibula
Published March 20, 2007

Daoud & Saleh Al-Kuwaity

Historical reasons to care about this double CD: these Jewish brothers were musical prodigies in Kuwait and ended up in Iraq, where they were court favorites of King Faisal; their songs were recorded by many of the most famous musicians in the Arab world, including Egyptian singer Um-Kultum; after moving to Israel in the 1950s (and overcoming anti-Arab prejudice there), they became radio stars in their own country and throughout the Persian Gulf. Musical reasons to care about this CD: the compositions are tricky, shape-shifting works that change direction at will; their prowess on violin (Daoud) and oud (Saleh) is never less than stunning; one listen to the 20-minute “Rib Ya Gumar” or the pop-song-length “Hamayed” will instantly transport the listener to a faraway place where the coffee is sweet and thick. Quibbles: poor sound quality; no translations; the hit songs discussed in the liner notes are not actually included.