Jerusalem In My Heart – If He Dies, If If If If If If
The key to this riveting, unsettling record is there in the sleeve notes: "Original rear cover photograph taken by Trevor Horgan on 16 July 2014 during another Israeli offensive on Gaza, seconds before Ahed, Ismail, Mohammed and Zakaria Bakr were killed by Israeli Navy shelling while playing on an empty beach." Young boys, running in the sand, blissfully unaware of their fate. Not that Radwan Ghazi Moumneh needs to provide such overt context for his second album in his Jerusalem In My Heart guise.
His collaborative adventures continue on this hook-up with visual artist and filmmaker Charles-André Coderre and, in line with its unflinching packaging, it is a sombre and haunting work. Moumneh's voice (a beautiful, limitless instrument) and his buzuk (the lute-type instrument similar to the Greek bouzouki) playing underpin his flexing of Arab traditions. At its best – as on the closing Zasmar Sa7ar, where voice, buzuk, the sound of ocean waves and drone backing combine – it delivers a heady and oddly plaintive euphoria. [Gary Kaill]