Review - Out of the Reeds

Artist: Pharaoh's Daughter

Those of us who like Middle Eastern music but buy without guidance often end up with CDs that better reflect the ambience of a strip-mall ethnic restaurant than the exotica we were hoping for. Pharaoh's Daughter is melodic light years away from that brand of cheese.

Founder Basya Schechter's Orthodox Jewish background and studies of the Middle East have influenced an appealing tableau that utilizes a variety of material, from biblical texts to a song about a mother trying to prevent her daughter from marrying a "beloved drunk."

Diverse instruments are as familiar as the clarinet and as odd as the oud (a West African lute), and they accompany fluid melodies sung in Hebrew. The sounds run from chantlike to having belly-dance qualities.

The rhythmic sensuality, authenticity and simple skill of "Out of the Reeds" should find applause for Pharaoh's Daughter. So let it be written, so let it be done.

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