Sheldon Sand’s Dead Sea Strolls is a collaboration between some very distinguished Israeli and Palestinian musicians, who get together to produce 10 exquisite middle eastern melodies. Most pieces here are based on traditional intricate rhythms and share the sense of subdued melancholy often found in desert music, although the oriental-meets-western arrangement is also frequently used, and many tracks contain inspired improvisation. The fact there are no words (only hypnotic vocal humming/wailing) should make this album especially accessible to a western audience. Recommended.
Track 1, Returning home: Haunting flute refrain with slow percussion and strumming.
Track 2, Points of view: Starts with traditional arabic percussion + strumming, Duet between “operatic” fem. vox and clarinet player.
Track 3, Sababa!: Starts with piano + clarinet; more contemporary sound. Reminded me of all those nights I spent in the arabic harems (no I didn’t). The Turkish clarinet is the star of this track.
Track 4, The calling: Grave, haunting intro; Man’s wail that gets stronger. Slow tempo.
Track 5, Waseem’s Taqasim: Slow tempo performance on traditional stringed instrument
Track 7, The water wheel: Male vox. with an assortment of percussive/stringed instruments. Interesting melody.