On Acoustic Arabia, Putumayo turns its attention to the subtler, more organic music of the Arabic world inspired by the region’s traditional music. Featuring stripped-down arrangements and a soft, introspective quality, the songs on this collection highlight the fundamental beauty of Arabic music. Acoustic Arabia features an intriguing roster of artists, including several international stars and exciting new discoveries. Each musician has a fascinating life story that brings added depth to their music.
One of the best-known featured artists is Algerian singer-songwriter Souad Massi, whose contemplative songs address social and political issues and were banned by the conservative government. Maurice El Medioni, a world-renowned Jewish piano legend from Oran, Algeria first began performing alongside Arab musicians during the golden age of the Algerian music halls of the 1940s and 50s, and is still tickling the ivories as an octogenarian. The band Tiris hails from Western Sahara and is made up of refugees who have been part of the struggle to reclaim their homeland from Morocco which now controls the region.
Les Orientales, fronted by three divas - Mouna Boutchebak, Saléha and Sylvie Aniorte-Paz, revisits Algerian music hall songs of the post-World War II era. For more than 20 years, musicians from all over the world have met in the RAS, a magical oasis in the Sinai desert by the Red Sea. Sudanese singer Jamal Porto’s “Gamar Badawi” was written and recorded at the RAS oasis. Zein Al-Jundi was born and raised in Damascus, Syria and moved to Austin, Texas where she performs, teaches belly-dance and owns a store selling Middle Eastern arts and crafts. She not only provided a song, “Wijjak Ma’ii,” but also wrote the album’s liner notes.
The gentle emotion and entrancing melodies of the songs featured on Acoustic Arabia will help listeners deepen their appreciation for the rich music of this part of the world.
A portion of Putumayo’s proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to the Saïd Foundation in support of its efforts to bring positive and lasting change to the lives of children and young people in the Middle East.