This March, Aziza Brahim will release her latest full-length studio recording Abbar el Hamada. The album, her third studio offering, will be released Friday, March 4th in stores and online. For those that might be unfamiliar with Brahim’s body of work so far, this record serves as a good starting point. Those that are more familiar with her work will agree that it is just as much of a welcome return for Brahim. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s musical arrangements and their deep, insightful lyrical content. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz.’ The song incorporates traditional Sahrawi musical elements with a modern sound and deep, politically charged lyrics for a song that is a solid starter for this record and an equally welcome addition to the album’s overall body. ‘Baraka’ is another good addition to the album’s body. Its lyrical content will empower her female audiences while the song’s musical content with its mid-tempo, guitar-driven sound will impress male and female alike. The combination of both elements together makes the song a composition that is certain become one of the album’s favorite numbers among Brahim’s listeners. ‘Mani’ is yet another of the album’s welcome additions. The song’s gentle, flowing guitar line and percussion create a sound that will hold listeners’ ears with ease. Brahim’s pained vocal delivery as she sings about her lost homeland will tug at listeners’ heartstrings and not in a cheap, cheesy manner either. Rather the genuine emotional pain in her delivery makes the song all the more believable. That set against the song’s musical arrangement shows in whole why this song is just another example of what makes ‘Mani’ another good addition to Brahim’s new album. Together with the rest of the album’s ten total songs, the album in whole proves to be a record that is an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new World Music albums.
Aziza Brahim’s latest full-length studio recording Abbar el Hamada is an early candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new World Music albums. That is thanks to a mix of musical and lyrical content within each song that will keep listeners’ engaged from beginning to end of the ten-song, thirty-eight minute album. The album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz’ is a prime example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes the album so impressive. Translated, the song’s title means ‘Searching for Peace.’ The song combines traditional Sahrawi musical elements with more modern elements to create a mid-tempo piece that will instantly catch listeners’ ears. The song’s musical arrangement is so important to note here because in comparison to the song’s lyrical content the two sides present quite the interesting dichotomy here. That is clear as Brahim sings, “These people want peace/For decades they’ve been demanding it/But year after year it seems/the hope for peace is fading.” This verse alone instantly conjures thoughts of someone singing almost mournfully, especially considering its subject matter. The statement made here is likely in regards to the conflict in her West African homeland that led her to be a refugee, now living in Barcelona, Spain. Considering this and the reality of the song’s lyrical base, it shows even more clearly why the juxtaposition of the two elements is so important to note here. Brahim goes on to sing from here, “How I hope we meet again/In the land of the lost homeland/She calls for me and I listen/I claim her, too/I need her.” It is not known who the “her” in question is here as Brahim doesn’t necessarily make clear who she is. Regardless, the way in which the lyrics are presented makes Brahim’s statement here powerful in its own right. And when set alongside the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole shows why it is just one example of what audiences have to expect from Brahim’s new album. It’s just one example of what audiences have to expect from this record, too. ‘Baraka,’ or ‘A Blessing’ is another example of what audiences have to expect from Brahim’s new album.
‘Buscando la Paz’ is in itself a clear example of what audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album Abbar el Hamada.’ The combination of its musical arrangement and its lyrical content will move listeners deeply. That is because it isn’t one of those obviously cheesy, over-the-top pieces that are so common among other musical genres. ‘Baraka,’ or ‘A Blessing,’ is another example of just how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album. The song’s mid-tempo musical content by itself presents a positive vibe. It is driven largely by its guitar line and percussion. When examining the song’s lyrical content, the song’s upbeat vibe presented by the song’s musical content makes even more sense. That is because the song is a tribute to Brahim’s fellow women. She writes of women’s deeds in this song, “In every aspect/The woman has played her role/She had children/She educated and taught/Through admirable acts/Having children or not/No doubt/The woman has educated and taught/Vibrant woman/You meet the challenges/In democracy/With union and equality.” It is quite the positive statement. And whether used in an African nation, Middle Eastern or even American, it is a song that will empower any female listener. The combination of that positive lyrical message and upbeat musical arrangement assures that. It’s just one more example of just how much audiences have to expect from Brahim in her latest full-length studio offering. It is hardly the last, too. ‘Mani’ is one more example of hwo much audiences have to look forward to from this record and from Brahim.
Both ‘Buscando la Paz’ and ‘Baraka’ are clear examples of how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim in her latest full-length studio offering. Both songs show in their own way that there is quite a bit for audiences to look forward to in this album. They are only a portion of what audiences have to look forward to from this record and from Brahim. This song especially stands out because its musical and lyrical content presents such a stark contrast. The song’s musical content is reserved to say the very least. And Brahim’s vocal delivery is almost mournful as she sings. This is important to note because the song’s lyrical content comes across as being confident in its defiant stance. As Brahim sings, “I’ll never renounce the love for my homeland/I’ll never give up Mijik/Glab or Haulia/I’ll never forsake/Sahrawi is who I am/And they belong with me/They’re central to my land.” One would expect with such firmness in these words the song’s musical content would have more fire. Yet interestingly enough the approach that Brahim has taken here actually works when set against these lyrics. Of course it works even better as Brahim sings in the song’s second verse, “This extraordinary love/Pours from my heart and being/I miss the view of Bulautad/And I want no other homeland.” The same can be said of the mix of the song’s music and lyrics in its third verse, too. Taking into consideration the song’s music and lyrics in whole, the song is one of the most telling examples of how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahiz in her new album. It is a mix that surprisingly works and quite well at that. At the same time it is just as powerful and moving as ‘Buscando la Paz’ and ‘Baraka.’ Keeping this in mind all three songs paint a picture of Abbar el Hamada as an album that is both a welcome return for Brahim and an equally welcome introduction for those that are less familiar with her body of work.
Aziza Brahim’s latest full length studio recording Abbar el Hamada is a welcome introduction to Brahim for those that are not familiar with the Sahrawi artist’s body of work. Examining the mix of the album’s deeply thoughtful lyrical content and equally moving musical content, it becomes just as welcome of a re-introduction for those that are more familiar with her work. That is evident in the album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz,’ the smie-celebratory ‘Baraka’ and the intriguingly politically charged ‘Mani.’ All three songs are clear examples of the ability of this album’s musical and lyrical content to keep audiences engaged. That is not to discount any of the songs not noted here. Those songs could be used just as easily to exhibit how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album. All things together, Abbar el Hamada proves to be an album that is a welcome return for those that are familiar with her work and just as welcome of an introduction for her new audiences. It is an album that is an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new World Music offerings. It will be available Friday, March 4th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now via Glitterbeat Records’ online store at http://glitterbeat.com/glitterbeat_store/. More information on her new album is available online now along with all of her latest news at:
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