Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Siwan featuring Jon Balke: Nahnou Houm

Nahnou Houm is the brand new ECM Records release from the international act known as Siwan, who are led by Norwegian keyboard player/composer Jon Balke. On this latest album, the band have a new singer in the form of Mona Boutchebak from Algeria, and she lends her exquisite talents to these multi-cultural, ethnic flavored compositions. Drawing from Arabic, Andalusian classic, and European baroque styles, Nahnou Houm is both a charming as well as polarizing release. If you are an ECM fan, you won't get much in the way of jazz here, and while Boutchebak's vocals are lovely, she sings in Spanish as well as what could be her native tongue, so that might be a barrier for some. Musically, the arrangements here are meditative and dreamy, as an array of percussion provides the framework for lilting violas, cellos, & violin, all of which come across as mournful and dripping with emotion. "Del Rey" and the title track both fuse classical and baroque music to great effect, the strings somber and full of sorrow, while the busy percussive work of "ZemZemeh" adds a strong ethnic flavor. Though he's the leader of this collective, Balke takes a back seat for the most part, and the only keyboards you hear are the occasional orchestral synth, as on "Arco y Flecha". Some piano in spots might have added a varying element which parts of this release so desperately needs.

The truth is, despite its moments of beauty, Nahnou Houm is a hard album to get into. Many of the tracks follow a similar path and rarely get out of first gear. "Sin Nada Querer" builds up a little bit of drama, but again, it never quite hits any crescendo, though a song like "Itimad" is just so damn gorgeous it's hard not to appreciate some of what Siwan have done here. Mostly, this will be hit or miss for many Sea of Tranquility readers, but no doubt there's an audience out there for sure.

Mona Boutchebak: vocals, oud
Jon Balke; piano, keyboards, percussion
Derya Turkan: kamanche
Pedram Khavar Zamini: tombak
Helga Norbakken: percussion
Bjarte Eike: baroque violin
Alison Luthmers, Øivind Nussle: violins
Milos Valent, Per Buhre, Torbjørn Köhl: violas
Judith Maria Blomsterberg, Mime Brinkmann: cellos
Johannes Lundberg: bass

Track Listing
01 Duda
02 Desmayar Se
03 Castigo
04 Del Rey
05 Ma Kontou
06 Nahnou Houm
07 ZemZemeh
08 Aun Bebiendo
09 Arco y Flecha
10 Sin Nada Querer
11 Itimad

Added: November 21st 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 1207
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

© 2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content © Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by