COMPOSERS: Omar Sarmini
LABELS: Le Chant du Monde
WORKS: Les Croisades Sous Le Regard de L’orient
PERFORMER: Omar Sarmini (vocals), Ensemble Al-Kindi
CATALOGUE NO: LDX 5741118-19 (2 discs)
Dubya’s advisers might usefully study a box called THE CRUSADES SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF THE ORIENT. The substantial booklet it contains offers some surprising conclusions about the Middle Ages’ very own war on terror. Well they won’t be surprising to Arabs, but the general drift is that while Islam lost out, Europe gained nothing either.
The two CDs of music are more narrowly focused on a poet-prince of the time, setting his words in traditional musical style with plenty of instrumental improvisations and unadorned – which is to say highly ornamental – singing by Omar Sarmini.
He is the star, while fans of the dulcimer-like qanun will enjoy the playing of Julien Jalaleddin Weiss, inhabitant of a 14th-century palace in Syria and the project’s instigator.