Alsarah and the Nubatones: Manara

Here’s a fascinating recording that mixes music from various continents. Alsarah sings with an alluring nasal quality, writing the lyrics and melodies as well, and along with a core team of Rami El Aasser/perc, Brandon Terzic/oud-ngoni, Mawuena Kodjovi/b-tp , Nahid/voc Yusuke Yamamoto/key and various guests, mixes modern p op with sounds and moods from the Middle East and Asia.

There are lots of percussive moments with accessible and catchy tunes such as “Salam Nubia” and the sing songy “Albahr” while hints of the eastern Orient team with electronics on “Asilah Interlude/Alforag.” Brooding vocals sound cantoral on Manara” while Alsarah’s voice does facile octave leaps over the mix of bass licks and Asian effects on “Fulani.” Travels to various mystical regions abound as dances and percussions team up on “3Roos Elneel”: and experimental synthetics permeate  “Ya Watan.” Through it all, the music is attractive and yet other-wordly, like a scarf revealing penetrating eyes that lure you in.



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