This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place (Ancient Records, 2008)
Following up on their debut CD entitled Black Flies, Mawwal is back with a new set of songs steeped in the group’s eclectic blend of world fusion. Titling their latest release This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place, Mawwal offers up some deliciously exotic tracks with guest appearances by bassist Percy Jones, percussionist Shane Shanahan, violinist Rohan Gregory, tabla master Harshal Tole, African drummer Tony Vacca and vocalist Jim Cole.
Steeped in a fantastical Middle Eastern sound, Mawwal dodges the rules on This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place by incorporating bits of stratosphere sailing violin, kick-ass guitar and bass lines and earth shaking percussion. Opening with a traditional Afghani tune, musically enhanced by the band’s composer, arranger, guitarist and lutist Jim Matus and lyrics and melody by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, “Mondanabosh” leaps headlong into the unexpected with flashes of laouto, saz, djembe and riq against the soaring vocals of Matus and Jill O’Brien and Rohan Gregory’s violin. Bending, twisting and defying genre lines, Mawwal whips up a frenzy of goodness on “Ho Gaye,” with chunky bass lines laid down by Percy Jones and Harshal Tole’s spell-inspired tabla playing.
The percussion on “Bela Sehida” with Mawwal’s drummer Mike Keyes, Shane Shanahan on dumbeck and Tony Vacca on djun djun, rattle and tama, sends this traditional Kurdish tune off into uncharted terrain against the bright work of violin, laouto and saz. “Mawwaltz” is possessed by a maniacal funkiness fashioned out of lauto, saz, mandocello, bass, drums, riq, djun djun, kenkene, metal wah shaker and Jim Cole’s stupendous harmonic singing. Crazed and crafty, Mawwal tears through title track “This Is All There Is, There Is No Other Place” with music and lyrics by Jim Matus with additional lyrics from the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. “Helalisa,” “Agg Damen” and “Allah Hu” are equally startling tracks, where the intricate blending of East and West creates music that is outlandishly hypnotic.
Unconventional, fantastical and delightfully extravagant, Mawwal’s This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place is magically mesmerizing.
Buy the CD: This Is All There Is There Is No Other Place