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    Salt Peanuts, Eyal Hareuveni, 08 / 2016

    Jean-Baptiste Boussougou was born in Gabon. Henri Roger was born in Egypt. Both live today in France. Boussougou is a double-bass player and multi-instrumentalist known for his work with the Afro-jazz Trio Diwan. Roger is a self-taught free improviser who plays on the piano, guitar and sometimes the drums, known for his collaborative work with like-minded French improvisers as bass player Benjamin Duboc, drummer Didier Lasserre and guitarist Noël Akchoté.

    Boussougou invited Roger to improvise on a set of themes that he composed and evoke Africa large spaces, sounds and silences. The album title and the music was inspired by the word «Mourim», heart in punu, the spoken language in Gabon. The duets are very emotional, bringing to mind cherished personal memories and reflecting on ancient musical traditions but are not defined by any geographical boundaries or bind by cultural conventions. Boussougou playing, on the double bass and other African and Middle-Eastern instruments, is earthy and rhythmic, following clear story-like narratives. Roger abstracts the melodic veins of these pieces with his free-flowing and economic approach and subtle sonic searches.

    Some pieces stand out. The enchanting «Peul», where Boussougou plays the oud, reminiscens the seminal work of the great Nubian-Egyptian oud player Hamza El Din, and the title-piece, with Boussougou again on the oud, sound as a heartfelt homage to music of Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem. «Kamélé», a duet of tortured electric guitar and the bowed West-African string instrument, ngoni, is the most intriguing-experimental one here. The sing-along, rhythmic «Brise lunaire» brings to mind the collaborative trio Codona (with Collin Walcott, Don Cherry and Nana Vasconcelos). The closing piece, «Zirk», where Boussougou plays the ney flute, sound as a peaceful and compassionate prayer.

    Beautiful and moving.

    Eyal Hareuveni
    Salt Peanuts

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