Tarabband: Ashofak Baden

Tarabband2Sighs and Wonders

Listening Post 59. The musical seeds are familiar: Childhood violin lessons, a preference for Dylan and Joan Baez; first lyrics penned in English, first performance folk, dreams of starting a punk band. But this story belongs to Baghdad-born Nadin Al Khalidi, who found refuge in Sweden. Only after crossing a cultural bridge did she discover she could also become one. Al Khalidi is the heart and soul of Tarabband (from tarab, meaning “ecstasy in music.”), her soothing and confident Arabic voice surrounded by Swedish and French bandmates in a captivating blend of Middle Eastern, North African and Western strings and percussion, with added Spanish, jazz and folk elements. Ashofak Baden (We Will Meet Later), the group’s second album, addresses war, family and exile. The title track is inspired by the story of a Yazidi couple in Iraq about to be separated by war: “We’ll meet some night/By the Tigris River’s braids,” Al Khalidi sings, “Where that broken tree, that ruined land/Finally grow into homes” (video 1). Separation is also the theme of the flamenco-inflected Mistaniyak (I Keep Waiting): “No thought of you for days on end,” she declares, “I lose faith, I keep busy/When suddenly it comes back/The longing” (video 2). Zaffat Ceylan (Ceylan’s Song), pays homage to a Kurdish girl who died defending her village from ISIS: “Return,” the lyrics call out, ” you are the moonlight of this land/You are its legacy” (video 3). The album’s 10 tracks are not just touching songs—conveying the sweetness of life and home as their opposites loom—they are also great music. Tarabband’s bridge of sighs is also a span of wonders. (Kap Syd/Plugged Music)

 


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