Azam Ali: From Night To The Edge Of Day / Ballake Sissoki & Vincent Segal: Chamber Music

This tiny label doesn’t put a lot of material out quantitatively, but I’ve yet to hear anything from them that wasn’t at least interesting and exotic. These two latest releases confirm their status as one of the more important sources for tasty treats.

Persian born vocalist Azam Ali has this haunting voice that is as delicate as a Turkish Delight aperitif. She’s guested on discs by such diverse talents as Nine Inch Nails and film composer Tyler Bates, but here she wisely emphasizes the allure of Middle Eastern music. Singing traditional lullabyes, Ali brings mystical enchantment to songs like the luminous “Noor-E-Cheshmanam” which has her voice floating above the medina, while more rhythmic songs like “Faith” caress the heart with a gentle lilt. There are even some tasteful electronic effects to mingle with the traditional percussion and strings, as on “Mehman” which has Ali’s voice allure you, as would spices in a narrow market street. If you’re looking for some exotic sounds that give a nod to modernity, here’s a real find.

Meanwhle, a mixing and matching of a completely different sort takes place between Malian kora master Ballake Sissoko and French cellist Vincent Segal. The mingling of Western Romantic and traditional African is made picture perfect here, with Sissoko’s kora (sort of a harp and lute) strumming, picking and tapping notes that create melodies, rhythms and atmospheres perfectly matched to Sissoko’s yearning cello. A yearning and genteel mood flow out into your ears,with songs like the title track and “Histoire De Molly” creating aural atmospheres of the Sahel desert. A guest vocal on “Regret” and some extra percussion on a handful of songs like “Oscarine” keep the music dynamic enough to make you want to hear it over and over. Enchanting music that is as rich in textures as a carved door in the Dogon Cliffs.

Six Degrees Music


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