October 28, 2005

Choubi Choubi: Folk and Pop Sounds From Iraq

Iraq.jpgAnother winner from those fine purveyors of global vernacular pop compilations, Sublime Frequencies. This time Mark Gergis, who was responsible for I Remember Syria and Cambodian Cassette Archives, has scoured the markets of Syria and the Iraqi neighbourhoods in Detroit to find tapes that represent the various types of folk and pop music that have been recorded in Iraq in the past three decades. For the most part, the tracks on the album were produced during the period of Saddam’s rule. (The one exception being the three cuts by Ja’afar Hassan, a soulful folk-rock crooner who was a prominent voice in the pre-Saddam Iraqi Socialist movement.) Apart from this, the emphasis is on frenzied folk styles like Choubi, which is characterised by frenetically trilling double-reed, strings and keyboards, and machine-gun-speed rhythms smacked out on taut-skinned hand drums called Zanbour (Arabic for wasp). Its seriously in-your-face stuff which sounds in places like an Arabic answer to drill’n’bass. Here are two prime examples of it from the album:

Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me (And what a great title is that!)

Ya Binaya Goumi (Oh, Girl Stand Up)

The album can be purchased from the Sublime Frequencies website.

(FOOTNOTE: For those who tuned into the show, here's the Ja'afar Hassan track that was played, They Taught Me... Dear me, that's 3 mp3 postings. Promise me you'll buy the album..)

Posted by Warren at October 28, 2005 01:50 AM | World