Rough Guide to the Music of Palestine
– Robin Denselow, The Guardian
The timing is not deliberate, but it is certainly apposite. The onslaught on Gaza coincides with this reminder of the achievements of Palestinian musicians, despite the hardship and suffering many of them have faced. The music here comes from across the Palestinian diaspora, and the range is remarkable. There are magnificent and stirring oud improvisations from the three brothers of Le Trio Joubran, and elegant playing from the young four-piece Awan Group, who match oud against violin, percussion and unexpected use of piano in their experimental chamber compositions. Then there's the passionate female singer Amal Murkus, heard both on her own and with the gently drifting hip-hop backing of DAM, along with goodtime reggae from Toot Ard and Arabic-influenced rock from Khalas, who match a ney flute against rock guitar riffs. It's just a pity there aren't better sleevenotes about the musicians and their stories.