Música Andalusí

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: World
PERFORMER: Ibn Báya ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: SK 62262

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At the opposite end of the continent, a completely different set of musical traditions spread around the Mediterranean under the long-standing rule of Islam. They crossed into European lands too, with a legacy that is familiar in the form of flamenco (and mostly fragmented or lost in other forms).

The aim of the Ibn Báya ensemble in Música Andalusí is to bring together musicians from Spain and Morocco to search for common roots in early music. On the African side the traditions are still vital, and the repertoire supple, varied and captivating in its intense modal unisons.

What the Spaniards have added is a musicological perspective aware of the medieval music that grew from it, taking revived instruments such as the Andalusí lute and Renaissance flutes to join their Arabic counterparts in the ensemble.

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The results are scrupulous and cleanly delivered, but short of excitement and intensity except from the voices. Whatever the intentions, a European aesthetic has taken control.