Dusted Reviews

Group Doueh - Beatte Harab

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Group Doueh

Album: Beatte Harab

Label: Sublime Frequencies

Review date: Nov. 23, 2010

Hisham Mayet’s liner notes to the first Group Doueh LP, Guitar Music From The Western Sahara, trumpeted “Fidelity be damned!” What else could he say? The group’s first two international releases were culled from an archive of music recorded and released on cassette, much of it made with no apparent concessions to their equipment’s limits. You want in the red recording? This stuff will make your speakers bleed.

But nothing lasts unchanged, and Mayet has adopted a different strategy for Beatte Harab. He handled the recording himself, and while it isn’t likely to replace Donald Fagen as hi-fi audition fodder, it doesn’t sound like it was made by and for blown speakers, either.

But if you were hoping to hear the guitar heroics of the best little wedding band in Dakhla, Western Sahara, without that ferric oxide scrim, you’ll have to keep waiting, because the repertoire has also changed. The songs on Beatte Harab hew closer to traditional Mauritanian practices. Doueh only breaks out the guitar on a couple tunes, and there’s not much more synthesizer. The programmed beats that split audiences on their 2009 European tour are also missing; most of the percussion comes from a clay drum or tea glasses knocked on a tray. Doueh mainly accompanies his wife Halima Jakani’s muscular, almost genderless singing and elaborate ardin (Mauritanian harp) playing with a three-stringed lute called a tinidit (also tidinit).

In some ways, the change isn’t that drastic. The music still consists of trilling string bursts and stabbing, impassioned vocals that lunge at you from the cover of loping, unevenly accented beats. But without the electricity, it’s no longer a big, overwhelming sound that whacks you upside the head like board; it’s instead an aggregation of hypnotic patterns.

The songs may be shorter (there are 11 tracks on Beatte Harab as opposed to five on its predecessor Treeg Salaam), but they’re not too short to put you in the zone. Even so, I want them to last longer. The first issue of this album is, as is usually the case with Sublime Frequencies, vinyl only, and the gatefold cover is a thing of beauty. But Beatte Harab might be better served via a medium that offers a “repeat” function.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of Group Doueh

Treeg Salaam

Zayna Jumma

Read More

View all articles by Bill Meyer

Find out more about Sublime Frequencies

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.