Album: Ayn Trio (2018)
Artist: Basel Zayed
Reviewed by Ramzi S.
Composer Basel Zayed creates a modern interpretation of Mediterranean music, fused with elements from Western classical, jazz and contemporary music. The trio on this CD consists of Basel Zayed (vocals, oud & Buzuq), Naseem Al- Altrash (cello) and Layth Sidiq (violin).
Recommended Tracks (#8 for instrumental; #7 with vocals)
1. Violence (4:10) (oud, buzuq, vocals) is a jagged weave of melody and history, setting the stage for a human drama.
2. Samaa’I Nahawand (7:37) resolves the tensions established in “Violence,” linking one dreamlike flow to another.
3. I see in the Heavens (3:55) Based on poem by Amer Badran. Zayed’s arrangement places a stethoscope over Badran’s symbolic heartbeat and reveals the truth of its song.
4. City (4:36) shifts our point of view from rural to urban, yet without losing the innocence so brilliantly set by the album’s beginnings.
5. Checkpoint (4:03) moves with a buoyant caution than can be taken either as a literal or figurative border crossing.
6. Waiting (6:14) feels like a continuation of the story.
7. I’ve known love (7:30) echoes the sentiments of Sufi poets Raabi’a Al-’Adawiyya and Al-Hallaaj
8. Of Great Importance (4:17) draws a line from without to within from a seemingly bottomless inkwell.
9. Farah (3:14) By using the Maqam Hijaz scale normally associated with sadness, Zayed shows that joy is a very subjective matter.