Words by Simon Broughton
It’s the energy and urgency of Forabandit that impresses the most. There’s an unstoppable drive about these songs, performed by Occitan troubadour Sam Karpienia from Marseille and Turkish asik singer Ulas Özdemir from Istanbul. With the ubiquitous Iranian percussionist Bijan Chemirani, they bring together outsider songs from East and West. This is their second album and it makes Forabandit seem more than an intriguing idea – no less than a dynamic pan-Mediterranean force. It mirrors the idea of a common Mediterranean culture, as explored by Marseille’s new Villa Méditerranée museum.
All the words are translated in the liner notes, but there’s a fizzing quality to these songs, accompanied by strummed and plucked strings that make them compelling whether you can understand the words or not. Composed by Karpienia and Özdemir, ‘Nemidoonem’ and ‘Liman’ are songs about ports; ‘Tafori’ is about an oil tanker; and ‘Mum Olduk’ has a Sufi -like mystical quality. But boosting the songs, it’s the taut string accompaniments on Turkish saz (lute) and mandocello and the dynamic percussion thatmakes this trio a very exportable proposition.
Track to Try: ‘Nemidoonem’