Some Reviews with Jimmy For Reals: Debruit & Alsarah – Aljawal

Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on February 9, 2014


I’m probably not alone in saying that I don’t know much about Sudanese music, which considering the enduring popularity and recent resurgence of other African nations’ music, is kind of surprising. If this album is anything to go by though, Sudanese music is just fine and dandy, if a little bit of an acquired taste to begin with. I might be preaching to the converted here of course, for all I know you’ve all been smashing Sudanese Folk jamz for years now – even so Ajawal has an enticing otherworldly quality to it that seems to be disappearing from music as the internet continues to compress all known existence down into one manageable, bite sized mouthful.



Strictly speaking of course this isn’t straight outta Sudan, rather the work of Sudanese-American Émigré Alsarah and her production spar – maverick afro-beat tinkerer Debruit. The album they’ve put together is an engrossing demonstration of what happens when you combine traditional folk song with up to the minute production, and despite her orthodox leanings Alsarah manages to sound as cool and charismatic as any of her US counterparts, perhaps more so on account of her exotic allure.



What really seals the deal though is that Debruit’s production is awesome. The synths soar around the vocals and take on voices of their own, the beats are like untamed beasts that rove between boom bap and footwork without pausing for breath, and his signature slice-and-dice vocal sampling dissects Alsarah’s vocals into a flurry of squeaks, yelps and shouts that pepper the tracks like arcane chants from another dimension. Highlights abound, but if you need convincing have a go of Alhalim, which is hands down the coolest tune I’ve heard this year, and Jibal Alnuba which is unfeasibly epic and comes with this mind blowing video into the bargain as well.
aljawal at Soundway Records
This is the first review in the new series by Jimmy For Reals – stay up to date with the weekly episodes here. 

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