Refreshing Bab El West

Bab El West – Douar (Big Banana Music, 2017)

Bab El West is a new French band that combines North African music influences with rock, jazz, blues, pop, soul, Gnawa and African and Latin American rhythms. Douar, Bab El West’s debut, features a great set of songs with pop hooks and outstanding qanun work. The mixture of western rock instruments and traditional Arabic qanun is truly fascinating.

The band was founded by vocalist and guitarist Habib Farroukh (who sings in Arabic), drummer Marc Dupont and bassist Clément Vallin. The trio later added guitarist Hamza Bencherif and qanun master Nidhal Jaoua.

The lineup on Douar includes Habib Farroukh on lead vocals, guitar and percussion; Clément Vallin on acoustic and electric bass, guitar and backing vocals; Marc Dupont on drums and percussion; Nidhal Jaoua on qanun and backing vocals; Hamza Bencherif on electric guitar and backing vocals; and Anthony Honnet on keyboards.

Guests: Yannick Jory on saxophone; Léo Fourastié on percussion; Jalil Belbekri on guimbri, karkabas and backing vocals; a string ensemble featuring Boris Lamerand, Olive Perrusson and Liam Morrissey; Kicca on backing vocals; and Guyzo on lead vocals.

Douar reveals a new world music act with great potential; it’s a likeable mix of western popular music and traditions from the Maghreb.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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