03 Al QahwaWeyn Allah
Al Qahwa
Independent (alqahwa.bandcamp.com/album/weyn-allah)

Depending on who you talk to, the word multiculturalism is either meaningless, or a politically correct supercharged word, especially in a post-pandemic world where everyone becomes easily overheated about everything. If the media is to be believed even Canada has not been spared the blushes of intolerance, and there seems no reason to doubt this. 

However, Canadian artists like the one-world-one-voiced Al Qahwa have always fought back against any form of divisiveness in the exquisite poetry of their music, sometimes with subtly crafted lyrics and at other times with more overt sounding words. The album Weyn Allah feels slightly different, not only because the title asks (and translates to) Where is God? But more than that there appears to be a more elemental, haunting cry that emanates from this music. The song of the same name hits the proverbial right spot in every way: poignant lyrics, elegant music and perfect execution.  

Elsewhere, on Dunya Farewell chromatic notes sigh, but the harmonic cushioning rarely falls where you anticipate. Vocalist Maryam Tollar embodies this elegance in the plaintive evocations of her vocals sung with Jono Grant’s excellent performance on nylon-string guitar.  

The lonesome wail of Ernie Tollar’s reeds and winds is breathtaking. Meanwhile, the delicately knitted single notes from Demetri Petsalakis’ oud, framed with the deep rumble of Waleed Abdulhamid’s bass and the resonant thunder of Naghmeh Faramand’s daff all make for a truly affecting experience.

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