COMPOSERS: Omar Faruk Tekbilek
WORKS: Alif: Love Supreme
PERFORMER: Omar Faruk Tekbilek (vocals, instruments), Steve Shehan (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: RESCD 123
OMAR FARUK TEKBILEK’s traffic is with the US, where this Turkish-Egyptian singer and multi-instrumentalist worked with Steve Shehan as percussionist and producer to create an unusually accessible perspective on music from Muslim lands.
The initial haunting melody sung over and over again, with interludes including a flamenco guitar, will draw you straight in. From then on Faruk’s soft and intense voice prevails, with plucked instruments prominent in the more traditional arrangements but less flute, on which he has been particularly brilliant in previous recordings.
Songs are chiefly Sufi and Anatolian, but range across central and western Asia and conclude with an Israeli number sung in Arabic – eat your heart out, George W Bush.