Jonas Hellborg: Aram of Damascus


Aram of Damascus



Aram of the Two Rivers: Live in Syria (Bardo 038)

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Jonas Hellborg (bass),

Mased Sri al Deen (Ney), Nabil Khaiat (riqq), Tarek Malas (derbuka), Mahfouz al Hosaini (derbuka)


Composed by Jonas Hellborg


Recorded: Damascus, Syria, September 1996


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

The album title alludes to references in the Bible, though not explicitly verifiable. In the Bible, Aram referred to the country and the peoples between two unnamed rivers. But it is accepted that these are the Euphrates and Tigris. We know this general area as ancient Mesopotamia. Even though this land is mostly located in today's Iraq, more often than not when "Aram" is mentioned, it refers to Syria.

Bass phenomenon Jonas Hellborg never takes on easy projects. The success of this music is based upon a solemn approach. This is world jazz music performed under some very restrictive tenets. Even a slight hint that this reverential music had turned into a jam would ruin the performance. Here, before a live crowd, Hellborg plays the acoustic bass with the facility of a guitarist on light-gauge strings. He is both the rhythmic and melodic center of this excursion based on the Arabic scale. Joined by Mased Sri al Deen on Ney, a Persian flute, and Arab percussionists, Hellborg explores the most holy of all topics in a penetrating yet respectful way.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Parrita // May 03, 2009 at 03:54 AM
    I can love those arabic and crazy strings. I can imagine Jonas playing those sounds sorrounded by.... any more than his sound.