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Aziza Brahim - Abbar el Hamada (Glitter Beat)
It might be a strange thought, but whilst listening to Barcelona-based Aziza Brahim's new record ABBAR EL HAMADA, I was put in mind of the late Sandy Denny for some reason. Had Sandy Denny performed her songs in Hassinya Arabic or Spanish, she might have sounded rather like this. To my knowledge though Sandy's native tongue was English, in which she exclusively sang, apart from that one time she performed on Top of the Pops singing a Bobby Dylan song in French. The songs on Aziza's new record are both eloquently arranged and soulfully performed, with a distinct Western Saharan feel, which we have all become accustomed to. The strength of Aziza's voice is echoed in the fine playing of the musicians in her band, Spanish multi-instrumentalist Guillem Aguilar, Malian guitarist Kalilou Sangare, Aziza's sister Badra Abdallahe on backing vocals, Ignasi Cussó also on guitar, Aleix Tobias and Sengane Ngon on percussion. Throughout the ten selections, Aziza's voice is on blistering form, especially on the soulfully bluesy numbers such as Mani, which features some fine guitar playing courtesy of guest guitarist Samba Toure.