Elaha Soroo is an Afghan singer and activist who arrived in London as a political refugee. There she connected with Kefaya, a musical collective and together they made Songs Of Our Mothers. An astonishing album that takes traditional Afghan women's folk songs and fills them out with thrilling, psychedelic arrangements.
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On ‘Songs Of Our Mothers’, singer Elaha Soroor is joined by London based collective Kefaya, who with a wide range of instrumentation, provide a dynamic and exciting backdrop to Soroor’s wonderful vocals. ‘Gole Be Khar’ is one of the records slower burners, drawing from the world of dub. Soroor is joined by reverbed guitars and a trumpet player whose playing dances around the track.
‘Jama Narenji’ carries itself with that same psychedelic sense of purpose that made Selda Bağcan a hero in Turkey. The use of a baritone saxophone to provide the bass line gives the track a sense of vital urgency, matched by its syncopated drums and of course Soroor’s pained vocals. The track ends with a thrilling bit of guitar playing which utterly destroys the tension.
‘Charsi’ shows off the guitar playing in Kefaya. Not just in the gently groovy line that sits in the background of the track, but also in the delightful flourishes that lie throughout. This is probably Soroor’s best vocal performance too, showing off the fluidity she’s capable of.
Even if you don’t get on with the music, there’s something irrefutably powerful about ‘Songs Of Our Mothers’. Kefaya and Elaha Soroor have together recorded a collection of traditional Afghani folk songs, usually sung by women. The history of Afghanistan has been one of invasion and interventions, a history that has left many dead and displaced. All this makes ‘Songs Of Our Mothers’ a defiant act of remembrance.
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