The arrangements are varied and imaginative, in places quite jazz-inflected.
Jon Lusk 2006-03-13
This debut CD by Manchester-born singer, musician and broadcaster Reem Kelani has been a long time coming, something mirrored by its 74-minute length.
Kelani has spent much of her life researching and collating traditional Palestinian songs sung by women in Nazareth, in refugee camps and in Diaspora. Sprinting Gazelle is the result, using this material and poems by well-known figures such as Mahmoud Darwish. The arrangements are varied and imaginative, in places quite jazz-inflected. Most noteworthy are pianist Zoe Rahman, Idris Rahman on tenor sax and bass clarinet, and Tigran Aleksanyan on the Palestinian double clarinet, the yarghul.
Understandably, the mood is mostly pretty bleak and melancholic, given the origin of the material, and while Kelani is a decent singer, her vocal limitations occasionally pall. My advice? Don't listen to it all at once!