►The Alternative Music Lounge: Dhafer Youssef

After quite a while without anything new in this series (since I started to work full-time I have found it more difficult to have time to write on the blog, unfortunately), know here’s finally one more listening suggestion.

In this series, I’ve already presented to you a great musician who plays the Oud (Rabi Abou Khalil), but here’s another one, and I think the only things they have in common are the instrument, their interest in Jazz and the quality of their music…

His name is Dhafer Youssef and he was born in Tunisia but moved to Europe in 1990 to have more freedom and ways to perform his art – playing the Oud, singing and composing.

His music ranges from Jazz and World Music over Fusion right all the way to Avant-garde.

I especially admire his musicality (having listened to the album Malak (1999)  – where he performs with Markus Stockhausen and Renaud Garcia-Fons, among others), his impressive voice (listen to him singing unissono with a trumpet, for example, and you will feel that shivers going down your spine, I grant you) and the astonishing dynamic range of his music (right from ppp to fff, it’s like classical music – never had listened to something similar in Jazz or World Music before) aswell as the criativity of his compositions and the quality of his interpretation along with his other band members.

Have a listen for yourself:



Some more recent recordings of him (Dhafer Youssef Quartet):

Here’s the link to his official site: Dhafer Youssef

and the article on Wikipedia.


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.

►Collecting material for a new song

Some time ago I had the inspiration for the next song, and have since then been collecting some ideas and material.
One of these things are little voice snippets I’ve been recording or asking people to record, of always the same words, trying to get the most variated voices and some different accents, too.

Those words are “Keep calm and carry on”, a sentence written on a famous poster of the british government from 1939. You can read the whole story here.
Although those words definitely were said in a little ironic way at the time, I think they aren’t that wrong at all, it only depends on the context, sometimes it really is the best thing you can do, othertimes obviously not.

But as I like this kind of polemic material and one day happened to see the poster:

Poster Keep calm and carry on

printed in a magazine my dad was reading, I thought: “that’s it!” and decided to use that as inspiration for my next song.
I don’t want to tell you any more details so not to spoil the surprise, but one thing I can add: it’s going to be very much on the electronic side of music, quite different from the other songs I produced until now.
And I’d also like to launch a little invitation: If you’d like to contribute, you can send me your own recording of those 5 words, quality isn’t important, I actually like the idea of some of the takes having different sound qualities or even background noises.
The only important part is that the sentence has to be said in a natural, almost neutral way.
Send your take in mp3 format to this email adress:

joydivision “at” sapo “dot” pt

(substitute “at” with @ and “dot” with . and remove the spaces; this is against spammers)

The name of people contributing with their voices to this project will naturally appear in the credits. So, stay tuned to updates, and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you haven’t yet 🙂