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Tarik & Julia Banzi: Al Andalus Ensemble | Illumination

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World: Andalusian World: World Traditions Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Tarik & Julia Banzi: Al Andalus Ensemble

A graceful and distinctive ensemble straddling continets in its cultural voice, centuries in its array of techniques. Classical Arabic, Sephardic, African, S. Indian & Jazz are clear foundations shadowed by Spains traditional Flamenco music.
Genre: World: Andalusian
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Maitreem
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
3:43 $0.99
2. Song of the Water
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
5:54 $0.99
3. White Shadows
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
4:17 $0.99
4. Jinete
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
5:30 $0.99
5. Tiruvai
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
5:56 $0.99
6. Taktokah
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
4:28 $0.99
7. Rhythmic Rain
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
4:10 $0.99
8. Nabil
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
5:28 $0.99
9. A La Una Yo Naci
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
5:39 $0.99
10. The Nineteen
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
2:11 $0.99
11. Martil
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
4:47 $0.99
12. Departure
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
3:31 $0.99
13. Illumination
Al-Andalus, Tarik & Julia Banzi
3:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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Linear Notes from CD:
____Between Antiquity & the Renaissance,˜Al-Andalus’ refers to the Islamic empire in Spain which spanned the 8th-15th centuries. A unique moment in world history, Al-Andalus was where three worlds met. Under Moorish rule, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative peace & harmony inspiring a calm exchange of ideas and cultural flowering. These diverse cultures came together for a cultural explosion forming a unique social fabric.

____This Andalusian tradition is our contemporary creative inspiration, a thread connecting many musical and cultural traditions. What is especially unique about Al-Andalus is that in addition to performing traditional Spanish & Arabo-Andalusian works, Al-Andalus also excels in composing contemporary works based on the Andalusian legacy. A creative journey that mirrors cross-cultural communication, subtly uniting sound and movement, merging poetry and fine arts, the old and new are entwined, captivating the audience with colorful intensity and beauty.

____The performance group Al-Andalus began with Tarik and Julia Banzi together with Rasgui Boujemaa in Madrid, Spain in 1986 and was officially founded 1989 in Portland, Oregon by Tarik & Julia Banzi and Margarita Bruce. It has performed, given master classes, and offered lecture demonstrations to diverse audiences in Europe and the U.S.A.

____A group of 2-9 artists (musicians, singers, dancers, visual artists). The members are from many diverse cultures including African, Arab, Spanish, Sephardic, Hispanic, Persian and South Indian communities. Respectfully uniting the past with the present, performing traditional works from these cultures with native artists as well as create new works uniting our cultural pasts, forging a graceful and distinctive ensemble sound.

_____A culmination of years of performing together, much of this music was recorded and mixed while the comet Hyakutake filled our northern skies (1996). It is a comet which passes the earth only once every 18,000 years and its presence in the sky filled us with awe and inspiration. We hope this recording illuminates your life the way it has ours. May peace be with you.

1. Maitreem 3:39 Arr.: Tarik & Julia Banzi, Vocals: Ranjani Krishnan, Lyrics: K. Paramaharya (sung in Sanskrit). Tuning: M.S. Subalakshmi. (Tuning in Carnatic music is blending lyrics with the characteristic features of a chosen scale). Ranjani interprets a prayer for world peace composed for a United Nations event. Flamenco traces its roots to Indian music.

2. Song of the Water 5:51 Tarik and Julia Banzi. Water is our first music even before we are born. The peoples of Al-Andalus were well aware of the music of water, and utilized it wherever possible throughout their homes and palaces in the form of water clocks, fountains, pools and even handrails cascading with water.

3. White Shadows 4:14 Tarik Banzi The oud is the parent of the Renaissance lute and guitar. The oud’s unique possibilities as a concert instrument gleam in this improvised solo by Tarik.

4. Jinete 5:26 Tarik & Julia Banzi. Garcia Lorca was one of Spain’s greatest poets and playwrights. His writings were influenced by early translations of Arabigo Andalus poetry. This is a song originally composed for Lorca’s play Bodas de Sangre.

5. Thiruvai Pannindh 5:51 Arr.: Tarik and Julia Banzi. Vocals: Ranjani Krishnan. Lyrics: Bharatiyar (freedom struggler of India). Sung in the Tamil language. This song addresses the fate and uncertainty of life. "We depend on fate to be triumphant. Knowing this, why do we get troubled?"

6. Taktokah: 4:24 Tarik & Julia Banzi. The pattern 9/8 is the basic rhythm of the taktokah, a type of music of Andalusian origin still played in pueblos of Morocco.

7. Rhythmic Rain: 4:06 Tarik Banzi The fabric of time is explored in this improvised solo on darbuka. It exemplifies the immense range of sounds available on this clay drum.

8. Nabil: 5:24 Tarik & Julia Banzi Additional performers: Rasgui Boujemaa, Billy Oskay. Based on a Classical Arabic 10/8 rhythm called Samaii Thakil. "To your soul, the noblest soul. To your soul, Oh... Nabil...."

9. A la una yo naci: 5:35 Traditional Ladino, Arr. & performed by Tarik & Julia Banzi. Vocals: Ranjani Krishnan. Viola: Billy Oskay. A traditional love song of the Jews of Al-Andalus, or Sephardim. It is sung in Ladino a language closely akin to Castilian Spanish." At one I was born. At two I grew up. At three I took a lover. At four I married. Soul, life, and heart..."

10. The Nineteen: 2:07 Tarik Banzi. A water piece in the 19/4 Classical Arabic rhythm called Al-Aufar. It uses water as a percussive instrument.

11. Martil: 4:44 Composed, performed by Tarik & Julia Banzi with piano of Joe Heinemann. This piece is one of a series of original pieces dedicated to water and recalls the hypnotic effects of the sea. Martil is a seaside pueblo in the North of Morocco.

12. Departure: 3:27 Tarik Banzi. Making the Samaii Thakil (slow 10/8) a Samii Saria'(fast 10/8) to bring it firmly into our times.

13. Illumination: 2:59 Tarik and Julia Banzi. Based on the flamenco rhythm Soliare por Buleria which are the quintessence of introspective dancing, restrained yet passionate, noble yet sensitive.

Hi friends! Our newest CD 'Alchemy' is now out! (3/16/06). Also, there is a PBS special showing across USA starting 12/22/05 "Three Faiths, One God" with music from our different cd's and we were filmed live for it (www.threefaithsonegod.com). Keep an eye out for it!

Al-Andalus Contemporary Andalusian Music, Art & Dance
"A delightful proposition of exquisite music" El Pais; Madrid, Spain
"The best example of cultural integration" YA; Madrid,Spain.
"A new musical language uniting East & West" Aramco World
"Full of musical gems, an Ageless mix!" The Oregonian
"These multi-talented performers achieve teleportation for the senses/ The haunting, soulful music they made lingered in my mind next morning" Pop Arts



to write a review

Roberto Almenar

This is an awesome album that ties in so many historical things. Like the previous reviewer, I also qualify myself as a Middle Eastern music specialist which is why this cd rings such a chord with me. It is steeped in a specialits understanding of history which is WHY there is indian music on it and shows the depth and bredth of al-andalus's historical understanding.
At the same time that the Jews and Arabs were expelled from Muslim Spain (al-andalus) is when we have the first historical mentions of a massive migration of people from India. This mixture of Jewish, Arab and Indian influences are what gave rise to flamenco.
The 2 indian pieces on this cd are masterfully melded with Jewish and Arab music and instrumention creating a rich and historically informed music of rare musicality.
Its really a treat, especially when you know the history because it brings the history compleatly to life!

Marina Zona

Good for a specific taste
I should qualify myself that I am a "Middle Eastern freak" and thus love all Levantine stuff. Maybe this is why the Indian songs didn't really strike the cord with me. For those without strong preferences - this might be OK.
Overall - great music - "real" stuff!

Sparky deVille

Illumination is so beautiful it will send chills down your spine.
I went to CDBaby and bought Illumination, making me about the happiest person on the planet... with the possible exception of my girlfriend
who seems to like it at least as much as I do. Maitreem is possibly the most beautiful song I've ever heard, and the recording of it is immaculate. The voice sends chills
down my spine every time.

Lori Statton

I bought this as a birthday present for a friend just because of the title... the universe must have led me to this cd because after hearing it, I am completly stunned at the beauty and sensitivity of the music. I have never heard anything like it!

World Music Central, Patricia Herlevi

Virtuoso oud, and snappy flamenco guitar blend with the beats of finger drums as
Technically, Spain's Tarik and Julia Banzi's Alchemy is not an Early Music recording, but it fuses Spanish medieval cantigas with flamenco as well as, Moorish and Arabic influences. The music of medieval, renaissance and baroque eras would have incorporated musical influences found along the great Silk Road, North Africa and other regions of the world that Europeans had access. When you view a map of the world, you can see the close proximity of Africa to Spain and Italy. And if you travel back to ancient times, especially in Spain, you will find a melting pop of Jewish, Muslim and Christians along with pagans. People were nomadic, kingdoms fell, empires fell, regions changed hands and explorers were out conquering new worlds so all of this must have left its signature on early European music.

Oud player and multi-instrumentalist Tarik and flamenco guitarist Julia Banzi practice this sort of alchemy in their musical endeavors. Their recording, Alchemy fuses ancient and modern music as well as, African and European music. Medieval cantigas appear along side music composed for Federico Garcia Lorca's poetry. Arabic-style vocals and percussion merge with flamenco rhythms and Spanish folkloric vocals sung with great passion by Virtudes Sanchez. Virtuoso oud, and snappy flamenco guitar blend with the beats of finger drums as sacred and secular worlds collide on this seductive recording.

Composer and author Ted Gioia explains it better than I can in the liner notes. "For many of us, this fusion is a relatively new development. But for the musicians of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, it is a fact of life, a reality over a thousand years old. Here the sonic genealogy draws from a dazzling panoply of root sources --Arabic, Castilian, Jewish, Romany and African, among others." And yes, this musical alchemy dazzles in the way that a long-awaited sunny day does for people residing in a cloudy Seattle. To call this music an exotic tapestry might sound cliché because it is a phrase that us journalist have used many times to describe fusion music, but once again, this phrase works. Better yet, pick up the CD and listen to the consummation of the old and new worlds. And take the musicians' advice and read Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist while listening to the CD. Follow your bliss and transform your life.


It's real music not New Age ambient boredom
The jazz/flamenco elements lift this into a special realm. Gentle but complex music on a different level to all those floating monotonous, boring, watery, rainforest, ambient nothingnesses you now hear in tourist and outdoor shops all over the place.
This music is uplifting, contemplative, stirring, emotional. One of the best blends of different cutural styles you are likely to hear.

Beverly Hills Outlook

entertaining, interesting, and talented
Moorish Music from the Arabs and the Jews
By Cynthia Citron
Beverly Hills Outlook
June 17, 2004

The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre has begun its outstanding summer season of music from around the world. On June 13th their offering was "Al Andalus to Jerusalem: Levantine Festival, presented by the Levantine Cultural Center.

In earlier times the Levant was comprised of the territory that is now Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, but the Levantine Cultural Center, founded here in Los Angeles in 2001, claims the territory from Morocco in the west to Afghanistan in the east and from southern Greece to Kurdish Iran. Their purpose, they say, is to promote a "pan-cultural conversation beyond borders, passports, and dogmas." And on June 13th they did just that.

Israeli composer Yair Dalal played oud and violin, accompanied by Yuval Ron, also on oud, Yegish Manoukian, who played an assortment of hauntingly melancholy flutes and clarinet, and Jamie Papish on the tablah, a vase-shaped drum made of colorfully decorated metal. They were accompanied by Najwa Gibran, whose powerful voice did ample justice to the trills and wails of Arabic music. This group was also joined by Kimberley Michelle, who performed a series of acrobatic strip-tease belly dances.

The second half of the show featured Tarik & Julia Banzi, the Al-Andalus group, which was more entertaining, more interesting, and more talented. It consisted of Tarik Banzi on oud, ney, and vocals, Julia Banzi on flamenco guitar, viola, and percussion, Rasgui Boujemaa on kamanja, ney, percussion, and vocals, and Charlie Bisharat, a star all on his own, on violin. A Grammy Award-winning violinist who often sits in with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and accompanies pop, jazz and classical artists, Bisharat was awesome and worth the price of admission all by himself.

Al-Andalus was joined by classical flamenco dancer Ana Montes, who was also spectacular, especially in one number where she wielded a huge Spanish shawl as if it were her dance partner.

The music was soulful, atonal, and sometimes jarring. It came from Persia, Israel, Moorish Spain, and other points around the Arabic world and was played on a gorgeous assortment of ethnic instruments: flamenco guitar, oud (a variation of a lute), ney (a reed pipe), kamanja (a form of fiddle), woodwinds, percussion, castanets, and daff (tambourine).

Since the songs from their CD "Illumination" were sung in a variety of languages that were not identified, I can't say much about them. Suffice it to say they were much appreciated by the audience (the amphitheater was nearly full), who sang along, hummed along, and clapped in accompaniment to the music, which they obviously recognized.


Pure magic!
The music and the vocals make this cd a great jewel! You won't be disappointed. Sometimes you just feel blessed to come across great music like this in your life.


Awesome,Like never heard before. music that's enchanting and magical
I enjoy listening to the samples,and currently own "Vision";
I intend to buy both "Illumination,and "Genetic Memories".
I will feel a sense of pride in owning these Cd's, becuase I have come on to something great and special.

marcus w pringle

I know nothing about the culture, but I do know beautiful music when I hear it, this is it!
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