...a dignified, stratospheric sound...
Martin Longley 2006
The Algerian Akim El Sikameya made a significant impression at 2005's WOMAD festival, not least for possessing a voice that, in others, might be the result of helium inhalation. He projects a dignified, stratospheric sound, both in the qualities of his impossibly high voice and his ornamented, bittersweet violin.
Akim marshals a broad spread of players, but manages to keep them sounding like a very controlled chamber group. The musical vocabulary has North African roots, but El Sikameya also snatches motifs from flamenco, jazz, West African pop and on one song even manages to combine samba and French chanson. Akim's songs are often too brief to allow the listener's full involvement, but the true spirit of exaggerated romance pervades, with only occasional lapses into sickly smoothness.