Various Artists – Orient Noir

[audio:|artists=Emil Zrihan|titles=Maka Shelishit]

Emil Zrihan – “Maka Shelishit”
Orient Noir

Piranha Musik has put together another fine release in their Noir series of albums. Curated by Dr. Bertram Nickolay, Orient Noir features fourteen tracks from an array of artists rich in tradition and musical mastery. Arabic-oriental and Jewish-oriental songs come together to form a west-eastern divan with everlasting appeal. This cross section of musical exploration makes this one of the most dynamic compilations you will encounter this year.

On this impressive set you will hear Nubian wedding dances, Turkish-Sephardic chants, Oriental dance music from Lebanon, North African chaabi music and a whole lot more. The west and south coasts of the Mediterranean share a timeless cultural connection which gives this set a common bond. The sequencing of the tracks is effective, mixing traditional acoustic songs with contemporary electronic-infused numbers.

Watcha Clan register a mighty rumble with their inspired take on Ofra Haza’s old Yemenite hymn and world pop-hit “Im Nin’Alu.” This exciting band from Marseille light up this classic tune with some nice electronic touches. Zanzibar’s Bi Kidude Baraka sings the melancholic Taarab classic and Emil Zrihan lends his incredible voice to “Maka Shelishit,” which you can listen to above. Zrihan believes it is important to bring Arab and Jewish cultures together, which is a common thread throughout this record.

“As a singer I act as a bridge between the Arab and the Jewish cultures. We always lived together, ate together and sang the same songs together. And suddenly we find ourselves in a fight for the same piece of earth. It is bizarre and that fight is not what we want to do.” – Emil Zrihan

Orient Noir comes out September 18th on Piranha Musik. Each track is a gem, so don’t hesitate to add this CD to your collection. If you’ve missed any of the previous Noir releases, check out Piranha Musik to learn more about them. Piranha also has a number of the artists on this compilation on their roster, so look out for their individual albums as well.


Watcha Clan – “Im Nin’Alu Intro”
Salwa Abdou Greisha – “We Daret El Ayam”
Frank London & Boban Marković – “Doin’ the Oriental”
Bi Kidude Baraka – “Pakistani”
Susan Sandler – “Shalom Aleykhem”
Mahmoud Fadl – “The 2nd Night in Mohamed’ Ali Street”
Ruth Yaakov – “Las Esuegras de Angora”
Emil Zrihan – “Maka Shelishit”
Ihsan Al-Mounzer – “Ali’s Nay”
Maurice El Médioni – “Ya Maalem/Kelbi Razahi”
Samy El Bably – “Ana Bamasi Al Haba Doll”
Watcha Clan – “Im Nin’Alu”
The Klezmatics – “I’m Not Afraid”
Efendi’s Garden – “The Garden”

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