Aug. 24, 2009
Salaam's music sounds as if it could have emerged from the cafes of Beirut. Instead, it's the brainchild of Middle Western Americans, not all of Middle Eastern descent. Some of the music on their debut CD recalls the swirling, lush Arabic orchestras of the early 20th century; some is closer to Balkan melancholy or the lively craziness of klezmer. Occasionally, jazz and hints of rock trickle in, especially when piano or drum kit are deployed. With scintillating tonalities, whirling rhythms and unearthly chords, Salaam is a tour of contemporary Near Eastern music in its many variations.