Review | Songlines


Rating: ★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Syna Awel


Imago Records


Syna Awel comes from the Kabylia region of Algeria, and is one of the singers in Ifriqiyya Electrique, although this smoothed-out debut album is another proposition entirely. Awel opts for a mellow, French-ified direction, although still mostly singing in Berber. Pierre Bonnet provides pliable electric bass, David Aubaile plays piano/flute and bandleader Karim Ziad and a guesting Rabah Khalfa are presumably responsible for the bendir, krakeb and darbuka percussion. There are some pleasing peripheral touches, such as the group chant vocals, underneath Awel’s slightly vibrato vocalisations. She recalls the approach of the Ethiopian singer Aster Aweke. ‘Yemma Gouraya’ has more thrust, with a grainy flute solo, fluid bass and a percussion break, speeding up for its close. ‘Hader Iman-ik’ even has a salsa-shaded piano figure. There are some appealing trimmings, but this album’s core is too pop orientated.

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