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Friday, July 02, 2004

Souad Massi in Central Park

Last night I went to a SummerStage concert in Central Park featuring the wonderful Souad Massi and her band. It was a lovely Souad Massisummer evening and the music was a welcome change of pace from all the commercial junk on mainstream media. What would I do without BBC 6 Music? That's where I first heard Souad Massi, on the Bob Harris Show.

Souad Massi is from Algeria. She sings most of her songs in Arabic. Her type of music is often described as Rai, and it has been popularlized by singers like Cheb Mami (who sang Desert Rose with Sting) and Cheb Khaled, who's music I heard for the first time about 15 years ago thanks to the ever-resourceful Guzi Gatt.

As I sat there on the bleachers in Central Park last night, I couldn't stop but think about the Maltese counterparts to Souad Massi and other Rai musicians. Sadly, they are few and far between. However, the examples that came to mind are quite remarkable.

The first is Mary Rose Mallia, singing that set of delightful songs written by Charles Camilleri and Joe Friggieri on Songs from Malta. The second would have to be Vince Fabri's songs based on Oliver Friggieri's Mal-Fanal Hemm Ħarstek Tixgħel, with the exquisite voice of Philisienne Brincat. And the only other example I can think of is the Etnika combo, which appeared in recent years, or perhaps some of the songs by Fr. Karm Debattista. Still, something tells me that the work Walter Micallef is doing now would also fit in this category. I must look into getting his CD M'Jien Xejn, which was published last year.

Blogger WALULAC said...

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8:07 AM, November 08, 2004

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