Arab & Turkish music for listeners

Arab & Turkish music for listeners

Minor Empire – Second Nature

Great music for listening and dancing – this new album of  Turkish / world music  is made in Toronto!  I couldn’t stop dancing during the Minor Empire set at the Islands Folk Festival last summer, where the whole crowd was mesmerized by Ozgu’s truly enchanging vocals.  Guitarist/composer Ozan describes their style not as a fusion of Turkish and Western music, but the result of both a collision and confluence of these disparate elements. “I see them as coexisting together while keeping their original shapes,” he explains. “We definitely kept the original vocal melodies while fitting them into modern song forms we composed.”  Minor Empire has already been named World Group of the Year at 2011 Canadian Folk Music Award, and I hope to hear more albums in the near future!

“Second Nature is more than just an interesting record, it marks an important way forward for Turkish and world music, in general…” (Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio and Toronto Sun music columnist.)

Souad Massi

I love every album featuring Souad Massi,  “a leading light among young Algerian artists”.  Her fine voice, activism,  and courage have brought her into the limelight.  A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Souad creates  delicate Algerian folk rock with sensitive lyrics. She comes from a family of performers, and was born in Algiers in 1972. Her elder brother is a composer, her younger brother a musician and her little sister is a dancer. I find myself deeply touched by her songs, whether she singing in Arabic or French (she very occasionally sings in English or Kabyle [Berber]).


If Souad Massi didn’t exist, surely the world-music community would have had to invent her. A doe-eyed, twentysomething Algerian singer/songwriter with a carillon-like voice and fine line in heartfelt, political songs, her debut album Raoui (The Storyteller) has seen her compared with artists such as Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell and – despite singing only in Arabic and French – hailed as a major star in the making. (Jane Cornwell, London Evening Standard, 22 April 2002)