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Karim Sulayman|Broken Branches

Broken Branches

Karim Sulayman and Sean Shibe

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Programs mixing Eastern and Western materials are common enough, and even those showing the deep interwovenness of East and West, such as those of Jordi Savall, have become more common. Still, it is hard to top this release by tenor Karim Sulayman and guitarist Sean Shibe for sheer ambition. The booklet notes by Olivia Giovetti amplify the idea in a dozen different ways, with extensive reference to Edward Said and to the Arabic ancestry of the guitar, but the basic premise is that "shoehorning things into a forced binary of 'East' and 'West' eliminates a spectrum of identities more slippery than settled." Nearly everything here cuts both ways, from a Dowland song accompanied by guitar in the role of the lute (oud), to Sephardic and Arab-Andalusian songs, to a popular song by vocalist Fairuz that draws on Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. One key idea is that musical borrowings are always filtered through the borrower in a kind of imperfect recollection, something explicitly affirmed by Benjamin Britten in connection with his Songs from the Chinese. Many of these strands converge in the Sufi Dance of Jonathan Harvey, a work that the album offers as underrated; listeners will be ready to agree. One might not necessarily choose these players as interpreters of the individual works here, but the album, as a whole, is compelling and thought-provoking.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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Broken Branches

Karim Sulayman

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1
Time Stands Still
Karim Sulayman
00:05:29

John Dowland, Composer, Lyricist - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

2
Sufi Dance
Sean Shibe
00:02:18

Jonathan Harvey, Composer - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

3
Dalla porta d’oriente
Karim Sulayman
00:03:23

Giulio Caccini, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Maria Menadori, Lyricist - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

4
Sì dolce è’l tormento
Karim Sulayman
00:04:27

Claudio Monteverdi, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlo Milanuzzi, Lyricist - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

5
La mia turca
Karim Sulayman
00:02:15

Claudio Monteverdi, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlo Milanuzzi, Lyricist - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

6
La prima vez (Arranged Karim Sulayman and Sean Shibe)
Karim Sulayman
00:03:58

Traditional Sephardic, Composer, Lyricist - Karim Sulayman, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Shibe, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

7
Lamma bada yatathanna (Arranged by Sean Shibe)
Sean Shibe
00:02:24

Sean Shibe, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Traditional Arab-Andalusian, Composer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

8
El helwa di (Arranged by Karim Sulayman and Sean Shibe)
Karim Sulayman
00:03:33

SAYED DARWISH, Composer, Lyricist - Karim Sulayman, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Shibe, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

9
Li Beirut (Arranged by Karim Sulayman and Sean Shibe)
Karim Sulayman
00:04:07

Fairuz, Composer, Lyricist - Karim Sulayman, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Shibe, Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

10
A Butterfly in New York
Karim Sulayman
00:04:42

Anonymous, Lyricist - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Layale Chaker, Composer, Lyricist

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

In the Woods (Töru Takemitsu)

11
I. Wainscot Pond
Sean Shibe
00:03:29

Toru Takemitsu, Composer - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

Songs from the Chinese (Benjamin Britten)

12
No. 1 The Big Chariot
Karim Sulayman
00:02:00

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

13
Songs from The Chinese: No. 2 The Old Lute
Karim Sulayman
00:02:47

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

14
No. 3 The Autumn Wind
Karim Sulayman
00:01:25

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

15
No. 4 The Herd-boy
Karim Sulayman
00:01:30

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

16
No. 5 Depression
Karim Sulayman
00:02:05

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

17
No. 6 Dance Song
Karim Sulayman
00:01:16

Anonymous, Lyricist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Karim Sulayman, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Waley, Translator - Sean Shibe, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

2023 PENTATONE 2023 (P) PENTATONE

Album review

Programs mixing Eastern and Western materials are common enough, and even those showing the deep interwovenness of East and West, such as those of Jordi Savall, have become more common. Still, it is hard to top this release by tenor Karim Sulayman and guitarist Sean Shibe for sheer ambition. The booklet notes by Olivia Giovetti amplify the idea in a dozen different ways, with extensive reference to Edward Said and to the Arabic ancestry of the guitar, but the basic premise is that "shoehorning things into a forced binary of 'East' and 'West' eliminates a spectrum of identities more slippery than settled." Nearly everything here cuts both ways, from a Dowland song accompanied by guitar in the role of the lute (oud), to Sephardic and Arab-Andalusian songs, to a popular song by vocalist Fairuz that draws on Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. One key idea is that musical borrowings are always filtered through the borrower in a kind of imperfect recollection, something explicitly affirmed by Benjamin Britten in connection with his Songs from the Chinese. Many of these strands converge in the Sufi Dance of Jonathan Harvey, a work that the album offers as underrated; listeners will be ready to agree. One might not necessarily choose these players as interpreters of the individual works here, but the album, as a whole, is compelling and thought-provoking.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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