Barbara Kinga Majewska & Marcin Masecki

Taratil ‘id al-milad
Barbara Kinga Majewska & Marcin Masecki
Taratil ‘id al-milad

YES it’s April and YES we are recommending you an LP of Christmas carols. And no we haven't lost our f****ng minds. We're talking Polish Christmas carols, translated into Arabic (more specifically a dialect from the region of Aleppo), and reimagined as political lamentations, and interrogations of Christian charity, or what’s left of it. “Songs for the time of contempt we live in,” according to Barbara Kinga Majewska and Marcin Masecki. “[An] era of rising xenophobia replacing care and empathy in relation to to the growing number of defenceless victims of wars, conflicts and other calamities. When thousands of unwanted strangers, searching for shelter from a certain death, die at the gates of fortified Europe, we cannot sing about any joyful news as we have always done.” It's a noble cause and conceit, and the music is up to the task, thanks to a number of factors: the innate beauty of the carols themselves, new to us and we assume to most non-Polish ears; the ways in which the imported Arabic language compliments, and complicates, and at times palpably chafes against, the sonorous high-Catholic melodies (“the songs run out of words; begin to sound in strange keys…”) but above all the sparseness and ECM-spaciousness of the arrangements. Majewska’s voice is the most haunting instrument of all, supernaturally crystalline at times, but also capable of drawing on deep wells of hurt; while Masecki’s minimal synth, harpsichord and piano accompaniments offer daubs of cooling, consoling ambient texture and, at times, something more atonal, frictional, closer to complaint. There are obvious parallels with Svitlana Nianio's and particularly Jessica Kenney’s work, but this one’s ultimately out on its own - stunningly poised and powerfully emotive music. It's also clad in the most exquisite/evocative artwork we’ve beheld in a while. It's really something...do not miss.

 

 

£16.99