Album Review: Aziza Brahim – ‘Soutak’

(Glitterbeat)
By Simon Miller, Epoch Times
February 17, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Rooted in the Western Saharan song and rhythm traditions, yet incorporating influences from Spanish, Malian and Cuban genres, this beautiful acoustic album transcends cultural boundaries. Growing up amidst repression in the Sahawari refugee camps bordering Algeria and Western Sahara, Aziza’s lyrics are often a call for justice for her people.

She has lived in Spain since 2000, and Soutak features Spanish and Malian musicians, with Aziza herself playing guitar and tabal, the Saharawi hand-drum. Aziza’s haunting vocals at times recall those of Arabic fusion diva Natacha Atlas, with a mood that captures both desert bleakness and uplifting triumph.

Four stars