Something interesting happens when you listen to music in a language you don’t speak. Your brain can’t decipher the syllables, so it focuses instead on the delivery to get a sense of what’s happening. You may not get it exactly right, but you can understand shouts of elation or the heavy-hearted wails of sadness. There are great musicians all over the world, and most of them don’t sing in the same language you use. But that’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy it.
One of my favorite albums to listen to is Amadou & Mariam’s Welcome To Mali. They work in some English, but for the most part the record is in French and Bambara. The blues rock blends with native African instruments in a way you would never hear from American artists, and it connects with me in a way that other records don’t. I get a similar feeling from The Nile Project‘s last record, Aswan.
A collection of musicians from along the Nile River, the band features a wide range of musical ideas. Hazem Shaheen, world-renowned oud player, delivers some of the greatest Egyptian music you’ll hear anywhere. He’s joined by ten other talented players, each representing a different nation and style. The way they blend pieces of each land’s music gives credence to the idea that music is truly universal.
They’ll be performing Sunday March 15 at Old Town School Of Music. The show will be preceded by a discussion at 7pm at no extra cost to ticket holders. Those tickets can be purchased here and I strongly recommend you check it out.