Amine Mesnaoui & Labelle – African Prayers

What a strangely beautiful album…

From the duo’s Bandcamp site:

Berlin and Reunion based duo, Amine Mesnaoui and Labelle are set to release their debut album on revered London independent imprint Lo Recordings on the 1st of April 2022.

African Prayers’ is a collection of seven new compositions, which includes lead single ‘Bleu Noir’, that aims to bring a contemporary and fresh interpretation to the Lila Ritual of the Moroccan Gnawa masters – also known as the Ritual of the Seven Colors.

With a firm belief they can deliver a sound that finds its anchor in heritage and yet escape folkloric clichés and stereotypes,
the two musicians have strived to make something that is rich in meanings, minimal but complex, simple but deep. This is a record that is universal and invites the listener to the depth of meditation, to the dance, even to the spiritual state of trance.

Mesnaoui plays a prepared piano that is modified by different objects, which are inserted into its strings while Labelle simultaneously plays electronic instruments and further processes the piano sound. These instruments are not native to the traditional context and their choice allows for a new perspective on the Lila Ritual. By pushing the boundaries of what those tools usually offer, the sound explores yet untapped territories. Each piece on the record refers to a specific color and its associated symbolic realm in the ritual.

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