Le Trio Joubran - The Long March


The Guardian

Cooking Vinyl

One of the most powerful, emotional performances I have seen this year came from Le Trio Joubran, three brothers who were headlining the PMX festival in Ramallah on the West Bank. Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran are all virtuoso exponents of the oud, and have become the world’s best-known Palestinian musicians by developing a unique, intuitive style that allows the Arabic lute to be used in complex compositions ranging from atmospheric pieces to rapid-fire improvisation. Identically dressed in white shirts, black trousers and immaculate black shoes, they were cheered by a young audience who had shown equal enthusiasm for the preceding hip-hop bands. Especially when they sang Mawtini: “The national anthem of Palestine.”

Their new album, The Long March, shows a different side. Produced by Renaud Letang (who has worked with Manu Chao and Björk) it’s a more lush, subdued affair, with the three ouds matched against synths, piano, flute, strings and an array of voices. It starts with Time Must Go By, in which part of a poem by the celebrated Palestinian poet, the late Mahmoud Darwish, is read by its author, set against a wash of electronica. It continues with an intricate oud setting for a passionate song from Mohammad Motamedi, and later a thoughtful, emotional backing for Carry the Earth, a lament with lyrics written and half-spoken by Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame. The best instrumental tracks include the gently epic The Hanging Moon, the brooding The Trees We Wear and the lyrical finale, Our Final Songs. It’s an intriguing set, though the exquisite oud work doesn’t need all the added instrumentation. Next, I would like an album that reflects the spontaneity and exuberance of the Trio’s live work, maybe with Brian Eno (who was at their Ramallah show) producing?

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Fri Oct 05 09:30:05 CEST 2018