Album: Daoud and Saleh Al-Kuwaity, Masters of Iraqi Music (ARC)

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The Independent Culture

This album of remastered recordings by two of Iraq's greatest traditional players is a reminder of the civilisation which Blair and Bush have destroyed.

Violinist Saleh and oud-player Daoud Al-Kuwaity rose to fame in the Forties, leading their own band in their own compositions; emigrating to Israel when King Faisal was murdered, they got second-class-citizen treatment until their worth was recognised there too. Saleh's songs are sung throughout the Arab world today. Their voices and instruments sound urgent and plangent against the plucked, strummed, drummed, or choral backdrops. Great stuff.

Pick of the Album: 'Ueduni u yinsany', a lament by a jilted lover