wed 21/10/2020

CD: Benjamin Taubkin - Al Qantara - The Bridge | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Benjamin Taubkin - Al Qantara - The Bridge

CD: Benjamin Taubkin - Al Qantara - The Bridge

Unlikely fusion of Brazil and Morocco is surprisingly delicious

Taubkin: A Brazilian among the Moroccans

Geoff Dyer’s book on jazz But Beautiful predicted the future of jazz would come from places like North Africa and this is a perfect example. Southern Morocco has become a hothouse of cultural fusion, partly due the number of foreign musicians playing and working with Moroccans at the huge Gnawa and Timitar festivals.

Geoff Dyer’s book on jazz But Beautiful predicted the future of jazz would come from places like North Africa and this is a perfect example. Southern Morocco has become a hothouse of cultural fusion, partly due the number of foreign musicians playing and working with Moroccans at the huge Gnawa and Timitar festivals. This is one of the best attempts and came about after top Brazilian jazz pianist Benjamin Taubkin was asked to appear at the Timitar Festival in Agadir and became fascinated by the local music.

The result is not an attempt at a 50/50 split between Morocco and Brazil – you won’t find versions of sambas or bossa novas here. Instead, we have a delicately balanced mix of fine Moroccan players on oud, gimbri and percussion and a quartet of Brazilians: including Taubkin, an accordionist, bass and percussion. Particularly satisfying are the tunes introduced by the Moroccan contingent like "Hamdoucha" or "Salsible" which then have Taubkin and Brazilians reacting to the lines and weaving their way through.

There are some initially startling gear switches between the very different cultures when "Berma Sosanbi" is jammed up against "Adeus Mue Lirio Verde" as though you were walking on the beach in Agadir and were suddenly magicked by a genie to Ipanema. In general, the predominantly southern Berber and Gnawa flavours mix with the Brazilians unexpectedly seamlessly to produce something laid back with more than a touch of mystery. 

Overleaf: watch a video of Al Qantara

 

It's as though you were walking on the beach in Agadir and were suddenly magicked by a genie to Ipanema

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters