Alif is the collective sound of five musicians at the forefront of independent music in the Arab world.
Conceived in 2012 and taking its name from the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Alif features Khyam Allami (Oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Vocals/Buzuq), Bashar Farran (Bass), Maurice Louca (Keys/Electronics) and Khaled Yassine (Drums/Percussion).
Their self-produced debut, Aynama-Rtama (Arabic - translated as Wherever It Falls) is a reflection of its time and environment. Recorded between Beirut in Cairo in 2014, it is a shape-shifting album that twists and turns when you least expect it. Innovative instrumentation, poignant words from avant-garde poets such as Sargon Boulos and Mahmoud Darwish, and the abstract worlds penned by the band’s vocalist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh coalesce to create an intense labyrinth of sounds and emotions.
The startling synergy combined with the band’s wide ranging influences, giving birth to a soundscape that is at once familiar and unknown. Mixed by Ali Chant of Toy Box Studios, Bristol, UK (P.J. Harvey, Rokia Traore, Yann Tierson, Gruff Rhys, John Parish) and mastered by John Dent of Loud Mastering, UK (Bob Marley, Nick Drake, Yann Tiersen, Massive Attack, Nick Cave), Aynama-Rtama traces a complex labyrinth of genres, sounds and emotions, rendered as a unique postcard of the tumultuous rollercoaster-ride of its time.
The album is adorned in artwork featuring a painting by Syrian-Lebanese visual artist Semaan Khawam. His colourful and surreal paintings combined with original typography by Egyptian designer Salma Shamel perfectly compliment the complexities latent in Alif’s music and lyrics.
All editions will also feature new English translations of the poems and lyrics by Nariman Youssef.
1. Holako (Hulagu)
2. Dars Min Kama Sutra (A Lesson from Kama Sutra)
3. Al-Juththa (The Corpse)
4. I’tiraf (Confession)
5. Al-Khutba Al-Akhira (The Last Declamation)
6. Yalla Tnam (Lullaby)
7. Watti Es-Sawt (Keep It Down)
8. Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?)