We weren’t familiar with multicultural collective Alif but their music caught our ears on first listen. Made up of Khyam Allami (Oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Vocals/Buzuq), Bashar Farran (Bass), Maurice Louca (Keys/Electronics) and Khaled Yassine (Drums/Percussion), their absolutely thrilling music takes roots in Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon.
Alif, named after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, have announced the release of their debut album, Aynama-Rtama, which translates to Wherever It Falls. The effort, due out on Friday 4th via Nawa Recordings, was self-produced and recorded between Beirut in Cairo last year. The album’s incredible and vibrant instrumentation is paired with contemporary Arabic poetry from renowned poets such as Iraqi poet Sargon Boulos and Palestian poet Mahmoud Darwish, and it comes with English translations by Nariman Youssef.
According to the press release, the album “traces a complex labyrinth of genres, sounds and emotions, rendered as a unique postcard of the tumultuous rollercoaster-ride of its time.”
To whet our appetite, Alif have unveiled the first single off Aynama-Rtama, ‘Holako (Hulagu)’. I’ve been listening to it again and again. Here it is.