There is a very interesting review of Cheb i Sabbah’s new album, Devotion, at Ethnotechno. A couple of excerpts here:
Devotion, like the record of this name, is concerned with participating in the Self. What should also be expressed, as has been with all of Sabbah’s work, is the necessity of evolution in these art forms. Hence while these eight songs are based on traditional, indigenous songs and ideas, he has made the presentation of the music completely unique . . . .
In fact, what is true of “Jai Bhavani” is what separates all of Sabbah’s work in Indian music: Turn up the bass and drums, keep the melodic aspects (flutes, strings) woven within the texture of rhythm, and cap it off with some of the most beautiful vocals around. Hence the hypnotic rhythm created both by the drums and Rana Singh’s voice on “Koi Bole Ram Ram.” What Sabbah has done in his forty-four year career in turntablism is understand how to bridge numerous things, generations and cultures topping that list. Taking Singh’s lyrics about the essence underlying divine names, he moves it from a ritual gathering to a dance floor (another form of ritual gathering, really). Music that was important for one culture’s mythology becomes relevant to the world . . . .
Throughout his nine-year career on Six Degrees, Sabbah has redefined the way we experience the folk music of India, Pakistan, Morocco and Algeria. He has brought it up to date for a technologically-inclined, digitally-consumed Western audience without sacrificing an iota of integrity. That is, he has made the very notion of devotion sonically relevant to people who would have otherwise never happened to experience the rich traditions of these cultures. As the title aptly suggests, every one of these sixty-two minutes is filled with devotion. Regardless of the form you may or may not subscribe to, the essence is right here.
Along with the review, Ethnotechno were good enough to post Cheb’s new YouTube clip – a nice snippet of interview and good (albeit brief) concert footage: