Review of Emel Mathlouthi's New Album 'Kelmti Horra' (2012)

Emel Mathlouthis's new album released in 2012

Emel Mathlouthi                                                          Kelmti Horra  2012       
-- All Tracks are FCC CLEAN --
Emel Mathlouthi is a young Tunisian singer, songwriter, composer and guitarist whose songs often address freedom.  She sounds like a blend between Joan Baez, Sister Marie Keyrouz, and the Lebanese diva Fairuz. .  On this album, titled “Kelmti Horra” (My Word Is Free), she has recorded many songs in Arabic, French and English addressing themes of freedom that seem undeniably influenced by the Tunisian uprising.  The last 3 tracks on this CD are only available on this special issue.

1.  Houdou’on (Calm) Chant in Arabic followed by drum beats, dreamy vocals 5:31
**2.  “Ma Lkit” (Not Found). Strong vocals crying out about life’s obstacles and the rarity of friends.  Starts slow then builds up to symphonic level with drums. 3:58
**3.  “Dhalem” (Tyrant) Starts out like a lullaby then almost operatic vocals in classical Arabic.  Nice harp sound 3:55
4.  “Stranger” Sung in English.  Oriental beat set to whispery dreamy back vocals.4:12
5.  “Ya Tounes Ya Meskina” (Poor Tunis). A lamentation.  A sad song for Tunisia set to seemingly patriotic beats.4:47
6.  “Ethnia Twila” (The Road Is Long). Sung in Arabic and set to an interesting beat that fuses eastern and western sounds and rhythms.  8:24 
**7.  “Kelmti Horra” (My Word Is Free) The title track shows off Emel’s strong vocals, almost operatic in nature, singing with heartfelt passion about freedom. 6:30
8.  “Dfina” (Burial).  Haunting vocals, sad rhythm with strong guitar sound.6:23
9.  “Hinama” (When) Sung in classical Arabic.  Sounds like poetry set to music.  Slow with many intentional pauses.5:28
10.“Yezzi” (Enough)  Classical Arabic, about the Tunisian uprising.  Freedom is in the streets.7:15
11.“A L’Infini” (Infinity) Sung in French, melancholic song, about a tortured soul.4:09
12. “Liberta” (Freedom) Mixes Arabic with different languages, haunting song, sounds like a chant.  4:56

13. “14 Janvier”. Commemorates the date in 2011 when the President of Tunisia fled 3:37

            My picks:  2, 3, & 7                                             Ramzi Salti

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