Brothers of the Baladi: Eye on the World

Don’t let the cover fool you. It’s ugly - but inside is a wonderful collection of traditional Mid-Eastern songs brought to us with distinction. The songs are Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Egyptian, and then two really unique works that surprisingly feel right at home here: “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones and “Twa Corbies,” a traditional Scottish song. An interesting cut called “Voyage” is a group improvisation that evokes the dream of the bazaar filled with travelers, traders, dancers and musicians. This album’s mix gives me a sense of time travel. In workshops I sometimes teach a 13 minute group veil dance utilizing the classic Arabic Andalusian song “Lamma Bada” in 10/8 time, through “Voyage” and “Bouzouki Solo” into “Paint it Black”! It’s really a fun dance piece. The instrumentation and recording is excellent: Michael Beach sings lead vocals and plays drum set, darbuka, table baladi, daff, tar, mizmar, midwiz, and zills; Michael Kersey plays electric bass and vocals; Tarik Banzi plays oud, bouzouki, daff, ney, keyboards, other instrumentation; clarinet, timbales, soprano sax and violin by guests. It was produced by Michael Shrieve (of Santana).

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