Conte de l’incroyable amour
Anouar Brahem oud
Barbaros Erköse clarinet
Kudsi Erguner ney
Lassad Hosni bendir, darbouka
Recorded October 1991 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher
After a memorable ECM debut with Barzakh, Anouar Brahem recorded this even more memorable sophomore effort one year later. Carrying over percussionist Lassad Hosni, Brahem welcomes Turkish musicians Kudsi Erguner on ney and Barbaros Erköse on clarinet. Erköse, a gypsy music specialist, adds rich colors to an already dense palette, weaving tethers that pull us into tender worlds. His duets with Erguner (“Etincelles” and “Peshrev Hidjaz Homayoun”) stand out as some of the album’s most flowing. The title track brings the patter of clay drums, weaving a gorgeous ney into our vision. (The melodies and rhythms here put this listener immediately in mind of the song “I Love You” from Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s album One Truth.) Captivating. Erguner shines again in “Diversion.” Slaloming through every drummed pillar with the conviction of a bird in search of prey and yet with the delicacy of an angel avoiding such violence, he brings a sense of history to every lilting gesture. “Nayzak” revives the clarinet amid oud and drums for a stunning taste of mountains and the plains. The album’s meat, though, comes in Brahem’s unaccompanied storytelling. From the dawn chorus of “L’oiseau de bois” and invigorating virtuosity of “Battements,” through the tender air “Le chien sur les genoux de la devineresse,” and on to “Epilogue,” there is unimaginable depth of yearning in every twang and strum.
This album is all about the composition, stripped to the barest essentials of melodic craft and burrowing straight into the marrow of our past lives.
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