Monday, August 2, 2010

Asalah - Qanoun Keifek

Two years since her last release, and after a relentless spin on the rumor mill, Asalah's Qanoun Keifek has finally arrived. The album is composed by Saudi composer Sahm, with the exception of Ya Rasi El Ta'ab (Fayez El Sa'id) and Sem Ou Asal (Leil), which in itself is a risk. Picking up where Sawaha Galbi left off, Qanoun Keifek opens with a song that needs some getting used to. A dramatic opening, a dance-oriented chorus, and powerful lyrics of a woman's frustration. The instrumentation is strange at first but beautiful, with a tango-esque solo violin and piano alongside a rebab and ney, all to the beat of Iraqi percussion. Ila Mata slows things down, but the shock value does not subside with Asalah braving a western-style ballad, and her voice taking an otherwise simple song to new heights. Shef Ether opens with an almost Enya-style melancholy tinged with oriental strings, and shows Asalah exploring areas she normally would not: being the other woman. After successfully taking the plunge into jazz with Hayati in 2006, Asalah tries her hand at some swing with Bas Degiga. A mix of frustration and mischief, the song is another winner. Shakhs Yehtam, in the vein of La Tekhaf, is the album's feel-good track and makes up in sweet lyrics for the simplicity of the song. Sharha Ou Atab is the sole dance song, and the style could be almost be interchangeable with a Tunisian song, pointing to the versatile Issam Sharayti's roots. The album winds down with three powerful ballads, beginning with the classically-influenced Te'abt Ardhik, which is another testament to Asalah's voice. The previously leaked Ya Rasi El Ta'ab is slightly reworked, but still opens with a piano and harp as a hopelessly emotional ballad and transforms into a faster-paced Emirati song accented with sharp strings. Sem Ou Asal is also polished and a verse shorter. However, the fusion of an excellent Khaliji ballad, complete with flowing strings and heavy percussion, to a jazzy saxophone and electric guitar still manages to leave you in awe.

1. Qanoun Keifek
2. Ila Mata
3. Shef Ether
4. Bas Degiga
5. Shakhs Yehtam
6. Sharha Ou Atab
7. Te'abt Ardhik
8. Ya Rasi El Ta'ab
9. Sem Ou Asal

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