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ARTIST
TITLE
Arbina
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
GB 038CD GB 038CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
9/22/2017

2016 release. "A full blown sandstorm of hypnotic grooves, melding traditional Mauritanian instruments, like the ardine and tidinite, within an electrified psychedelic rock band" --The Quietus. The 2014 release of Noura Mint Seymali's debut album, Tzenni (GB 016CD/LP), launched her onto year-end lists and the stages of renowned international festivals. Noura Mint Seymali hails from a Moorish musical dynasty in Mauritania, and chose at an early age to embrace the art-form that is its lifeblood. Yet traditional pedigree has proven but a stepping-stone for Seymali's work, with which she simultaneously popularizes and reimagines Moorish music on the global stage, taking her family's legacy to new heights as arguably Mauritania's most widely exported musical act of all time. Wielding the griot's idiom, a form itself distilled from centuries of trans-Saharan musical knowledge, Noura Mint Seymali's sound as heard on her blistering second international release, Arbina, carves out a unique position in the musical cartography of West Africa, at once her country's leading proponent of the avant-garde and yet a rigorously devoted tradition-bearer. Delving deeper into the wellspring of Moorish roots, as is after all the tried and true way of the griot, the album strengthens her core sound, applying a cohesive aesthetic approach to the reinterpretation of Moorish tradition in contemporary context. The band is heard here in full relief; soaring vocals and guitar at the forefront, the mesmerizing sparkle of the ardine, elemental basslines and propulsive rhythms swirling together to conjure a 360-degree vibe. Arbina refines a sound that the band has gradually intensified over years of touring, aiming to posit a new genre from Mauritania, distinct unto itself; music of the "Azawan." Supported by guitarist fellow griot, her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly, Seymali's tempestuous voice is answered with electrified counterpoint, with Chighaly's quarter-tone-rich guitar phraseology flashing out lightning-bolt ideas. Heir to the same music culture as Seymali, Chighaly intimates the leading role of the tidinit (Moorish lute) under the wedding khaima with the gusto of a rock guitar hero. Bassist Ousmane Touré, who has found a singular style of Moorish low-end groove over the course of many years, can be heard on this album with greater force and vigor than ever before. Drummer and producer Matthew Tinari drives the ensemble forward with the agility and precision need to make the beats cut. Many of the songs on Arbina call out to the divine, from which the album takes its title, and ask for grace and protection. Lyrically, the Moorish griot tradition is complex and associative. Poetry is held in a continuum between author and audience in which a singer may draw on disparate sources, selecting individual lines here or there for musicality to form a lyrical patchwork expressing larger ideas via association. A griot may relate her own thoughts and poetry, sing poetry written for and about her by a third party, and transmit lines from one party addressing another in the course of a single song. With this fluid narrative voice, stories are told. Recorded and mixed by Tony Maimone at Studio G Brooklyn, NY.