Iraq was a young, artificially created nation — carved from the defeated Ottoman Empire by Britain and France after World War I — when the Gramophone Company, the British label that eventually became EMI, recorded the 22 beautiful, haunting 78s collected on Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted — Baghdad 1925-1929 (Honest Jon's). The country was, even then, under occupation (by Britain) and riven by sectarian violence, and these stark, impassioned performances by local singers and instrumental virtuosos reflect the daily, unpredictable dramas of love and survival: the elegant piercing wail of Siddiqa El Mullaya; the majestic sorrow of Kementchedji Alecco's Kurdish-violin improvisation; the frenzied-Coltrane ecstasy of the zourna (a kind of wild oboe) coursing through "Ya Yumma Weya Baba" by Mulla Abdussaheb. There is a precious unity here, too. Jewish musicians back Arab singers; rural dance music is played with city-market verve; spiritual reflection is sung with carnal force; songs of romance are rendered like hymns. For a few moments, on these ancient records, Baghdad sounds like paradise — one still within reach.
Fricke's Picks: Baghdad Blues
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Around the Web
Cracked5 Famous Movies That Were Insane Parties Behind the Scenes
Guitar WorldTop 10 Best (and Worst) Comeback Albums of All Time
Screen Rant10 Decisions That Ruined Movies
Diffuser27 Rockers Who Died at Age 27
AskMenThe 40 Best Guy Movies Of All Time
Mental Floss33 Surprising Stories Behind Famous Songs
- Jimmy Fallon Plays Donald Trump, Gets Debate Advice From Obama
- Skulls, Satan and Dave Grohl: Inside Mysterious Occult-Rock Band Ghost
- Jon Stewart Bids Farewell to Fox News: 'Adios, Motherf---ers'
- Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free
- Are Rogue Militants Preparing for War on American Soil?
- 25 Best 'Daily Show' Correspondents
- Watch Lauryn Hill's Show-Stopping 'Feeling Good' on 'Tonight Show'
- Lewis Black on Surviving Two Decades at 'The Daily Show'