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Various Artists

The Greatest Songs Ever: Arabia

(Petrol; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Unavailable)

For the longest time, Arabia: The Greatest Songs Ever seemed like a mismatch of time periods, places, and musicians. So, every I time I put this CD on, I kept listening for an ambassador to a culture. I’m so glad I was able to get passed this narrow-minded thought process. What seems like good music becomes even better once you’re able to fall into the music and forget about what makes it Arabic and embrace what doesn’t seem to fit in at all. Think of it in terms of old and new; a mix of classical accompanied by a keyboard. It’s more of a collage than a jig saw puzzle. Some songs capture crisp images of mosques at sunrise and bustling bazaars, while others are just funky grooves that don’t need to try too hard. I keep asking myself… can they do that? And every time, I’m so glad they did. Overall, the album’s goal is to bring to light great music made by musicians from the region. The cover insert contains their names and websites, which I highly recommend checking out, along with recipes for making homous and kafta. I guess it goes with the theme of food and explains why there’s cucumber on the front cover… or maybe its best to leave that open to interpretation.

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