Published Jan 17, 2015Between Toronto and Berlin, his bases of operation, Canadian composer/pianist/visual artist John Kameel Farah is busy bridging continents — not just traveling between his twin homes, but in his composing, which bridges European art music from the Renaissance to the present and the music of his ancestral homeland in the Middle East.
The product of years of reflection and experimentation, the nine diverse pieces of this expansive album are a testament to Farah's consummate keyboard artistry and to his devotion to bringing together the two musical cultures from which he draws his musical inspiration. The contemplative, Bach-like "Introitus" is followed by the pulsating "Mercurial," and despite the Euro-Arabic ambit, the latter has a distinctly Cuban rhythmic feel; it's energizing. Meanwhile, the panoramic "Susus" is utterly hypnotic. Pulsating yet introspective, confident yet yearning, it's a way-deep, hauntingly melodic tour de force of composition and performance.
With its driving Arabic heartbeat, "Between Carthage and Rome" is a vortex of images: dancers, deserts, soldiers, slaves, monuments, history alive in the blood. Farah's passionate artistry imbues every track, making this one highly recommended. (BRM)