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På skive

EL KHAT

«Aalbat Alawi Op.99»
GLITTERBEAT, GBLP121

The Israeli band El Khat (القات) is named after the flowering plant and natural drug (Catha edulisis), widely chewed across the Middle East for thousands of years, mainly across Yemen and Ethiopia. «Aalbat Alawi Op.99» is the sophomore album of El Khat and attempts to capture the addictive, communal effect of consuming the intoxicating drug while relying on – and listening – to traditional Yemenite music. The title of the album is an homage to Faisal Alawi, a popular Yemeni singer who died in 2010. The Aalba in the album title is a small tin box that can contain many treasures, and the Op.99 was added in order to draw the same respect to this updated version of traditional Yemenite music like Western classical music.

El Khat is led by Eyal el Wahab, a self-taught musician who lives in Tel Aviv and a child of the local Yemeni diaspora. He composed and arranged almost everything on «Aalbat Alawi Op.99», sings – in the Yemenite dialect of Arabic – and plays on countless instruments, most of which he constructed himself from recycled materials. The essence of this album is stated in the song «Djaja» where el Wahab sings: «From Yemen and beyond America / We are all together and I am alone». El Wahab recorded El Khat from remote locations, due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, and layered these recordings into 12 songs.

The music of El Khat suggests repetitive, hypnotic songs, relying on simple yet powerful riffs and grooves, inspired by Traditional Arabic scales. These songs follow an addictive format of communal, call-and-answer ecstatic celebration, close in its spirit to West-African Tuareg music or North African Gnawa music, but expands the Yemenite roots of this music with subtle, futurist- psychedelic layers. The last, title song marks best the original musical vision of El Khat and El Wahab.

Eyal Hareuveni

Eyal el Wahab (pahit, pah, dli, kearat, jalun, seer, p, organ, g, lead v), Idog (dr, daul, frame, tambourine), Halloween (g), Iby (horns), Elad Levi (vio), Hila Achiel (backing v), Yohana Rietmueller  (backing v), Laila Yenishen  (backing v), Matan Caspi  (backing v), Wa Jima (backing v), Yael Lavie  (backing), Huda  (backing v)

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