May 18, 2024

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CD review: Avishai Darash feat. Marmoucha Orchestra – Andalusian Love Song 2022: Video, CD cover

‘For me, Andalusian music is the origin and core of Western music. I want people to learn and discover Andalusian music and let them find their own voice in this vast and rich tradition.’ So says Avishai Darash, Artistic Director of Amsterdam based Marmoucha Orchestra and creative vision behind Andalusian Love Song.

Reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the Netherlands, Marmoucha is a cultural organisation that is made up of artists from that country, North Africa, the Middle-East, the Maghreb and the Mediterranean. Andalusian Love Song is a love letter to Andalusian music and its journey and evolution through the MENA region and into southern Spain.

It fuses traditional sounds and rhythms with Jazz and represents a fresh outlook on tradition and innovation created by musicians with a passion for diversity and the languages of musical styles.

What ‘Andalusian Love Song’ strives to achieve – in the same way that Darash’s projects have always strived for – is the celebration and fusion of varying musical cultures and styles that have all contributed to what andalusian music is indicative of today: a style of music bursting with influences from North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

While the world continues to fluctuate between its state of crises as dictated by a certain global pandemic, things have at least progressed enough to promote Darash from outside of his living room into a recording studio with the fifteen musicians that comprise the Marmoucha Orchestra. An inspired collection of artists and musicians that each come from different backgrounds and musical disciplines but collectively create something incredibly magical that acts as an extension to the groundwork as established by ‘Quarantine Blues’.

Such is the collective’s varied approach to music, even the recording process differs between its members in regards to the backgrounds they bring to the table. As described by the “Meet the team of Marmoucha Orchestra” YouTube video, Marmoucha Orchestra oboist and artistic co-ordinator, Maripepa Contreras described the various approaches within the group in regards to her penned scores, “We have classical musicians and they need to read the music from the score; but the jazz musicians know what to play by reading the chords, and the Arab musicians mostly learn and know the songs by heart. And with the arrangements we try to bring them all together.”

‘Andalusian Love Song’ thrives off of such diversity and interplay between the musicians. What must have come as a considerable source of pride for Darash is to have the opportunity to expand upon ideas and concepts from ‘Quarantine Blues’ with four of its songs reimagined for this full-length release sitting alongside some wonderful new additions. ‘Arriving Home’, ‘Prakriti’ and the album’s opening title track deserve unreserved praise for their fiery and impassioned energy while the more introspective and achingly-brilliant orchestral numbers like ‘The Day After’ and ‘Longing Sadness’ are wonders in their own right.

As mentioned earlier, Avishai Darash has carried his musical mission statement with him for many years across a variety of impeccable releases but it’s hard to imagine his vision being realised in a more appropriate way than what has been achieved with ‘Andalusian Love Song’.


1. Andalusian Love Song 04:37
2. Kartana 06:26
3. She’s The Perfume In The Wind 04:07
4. Longing-Sadness 06:52
5. Twishya Hijaz El Kbir 03:59
6. Prakriti 04:15
7. Mohamed’s Blues 03:06
8. The Day After 06:12
9. Arriving Home 03:32

Avishai Darash – Piano/Composition/Arrangement
Mohamed Ahaddaf – Ud
Jessy Hay – Guitar
Pablo Martínez – Trombone
Maripepa Contreras – Oboe/Layouts/Arrangement for “The Day After”
María Cristina González – Flute
Gidon Nunez Vaz – Trumpet
Claudia Valenzuela – 1st Violin
Sophie De Rijk – 2nd Violin
Oene Van Geel – Viola
Lucas Stam – Cello
Arin Keshishi – Bass
Emad Ghajjou – Darbuka
Mehdi Nassouli – Krakeb
Udo Demandt – Percussion
Yoran Vroom – Drums

Andalusian Love Song | Avishai Darash, Marmoucha Orchestra | Avi Darash

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