PRICE: $17.00
IN STOCK
ARTIST
TITLE
Abdel Hadi Halo & The El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
HJR 032CD HJR 032CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
4/15/2008

2013 repress. Chaabi ("of the people") has its roots in the Andalusian music of Moorish Spain, spreading to North Africa with exiled Jewish and Moorish communities; but it really took off in the music schools, parties and bars of occupied, post-WWII Algiers, where its Andalusian, Middle Eastern and North African lineage fused with the Mediterranean soundtrack of that era -- chanson, jazz, snatches of tango, a little boogie-woogie. A chaabi band combines traditional instruments such as the quanoun (or zither), mandole, oud, gambar (a stringed turtle shell), bendir and derbouka (types of drum); together with the piano, flute, banjo (brought to Algiers by American GIs), violin (played upright on the lap to save space in crowded venues), accordion and bongos. With subject matter ranging from God to pretty girls, the songs often touch on taboo issues. For this recording, the Abdel Hadi Halo & The El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers includes four singers -- joined in chorus by the voices of the entire orchestra and five-man banjo, percussion and violin sections. The scale and organization are thrilling; the music is swirling and improvisatory, surging from the haunted to the bluesy, the devotional to the knees-up. This album was recorded on the tilting fifth floor of the Conservatoire d'Algiers, in a room overlooking the sea on one side, and the Casbah on the other: the orchestra was recorded live in full flight -- all together, in continuous takes.