Bab El West: Douar

The concept of Bab El West’s first full-length album was born in Brittany when Habib Farroukh spotted a road sign for the town of Douarnenez. The Moroccan-born singer-composer and two French-born band mates compared notes and discovered that “douar” has almost the same meaning in Breton (land or domain) as in Arabic and Berber (village). Thus emerged the enchanting, imaginary hometown-homeland of their music, at the crossroads of … More Bab El West: Douar

Carmen París & Nabyla Maan: Dos Medinas Blancas

If you had to choose one biography as a window to the splendor and diversity of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), a good choice might be the scientist-philosopher-musician-poet Ibn Bâjja. Though much of his work was lost, his theories on astronomy and physics were preserved by Maimonides and Averroes, fellow polymaths who shared his fate—all outlived the age of coexistence and died in exile. The modern … More Carmen París & Nabyla Maan: Dos Medinas Blancas

Mor Karbasi: Ojos de Novia

The Sephardic saga includes chapters of persecution and expulsion, but on her forth album the Israeli singer-songwriter Mor Karbasi (who has also lived in London and Seville) looks at her Jewish heritage from Spain and Morocco mostly through the prism of love. Ojos de Novia (Eyes of a Bride) embraces songs of romantic love (though sometimes involving disapproving or even warring parents), love of family, of God, of singing and of nature. This is an … More Mor Karbasi: Ojos de Novia

Oum: Zarabi

Weaving is an apt metaphor for the disparate strands of Oum’s music—North African Gnawa, Hassani, Sufi, jazz, gospel, Afro-beat, R&B, bossa nova and Cuban trova—which converge like winds in a magical desert. The Moroccan singer-songwriter (full name, Oum El Ghait Benessahraoui) grew up in Marrakech but also feels at home in the oasis town of M’hamid el Ghizlane, known for it annual arts festival and the local women who weave … More Oum: Zarabi