Jump to content

1, 2, 3 Soleils- Taha, Khaled, & Faudel


Recommended Posts

I wrote this for rateyourmusic.com and the indie paper I write for, so I decided to post it here in hopes of getting some sort of response.


*Note: this is a review of the shortened Mondo Melodia release, not the 2-disc Barclay release. I give that the same rating.

Could this be the single greatest live album ever recorded? I haven't heard all the live albums in existence, but I wouldn't be surprised if I had and I still considered this the greatest.

The production from prog-rock legend Steve Hillage is excellent, and his orchestral arrangements for the songs in concert are also excellent, many surpassing the original studio versions. All three musicians provide performances fitting for the grand scope of the event, in particular Khaled, whose rich vocals shine throughout the show. Taha's rugged rock vocals are excellent on the faster-paced songs, but only average on the slower tracks. Faudel shines on all his appearances, he is an amazing vocalist- one of the best to emerge from the 90's, not only in Algeria and France, but possibly the whole world.

Enough about the vocalists, let's move on to the band, and orchestra. They are fantastic, the bass is stunning, the sax and trumpet rich, jazzy, vibrant, and fantastic, the guitar solos are all good, and the keyboards, piano, violin, and others are equally excellent. The band and accompanying orchestra are the life of this performance, and Steve Hillage's influence is palpable; he turns Khaled's breakthrough hit N'ssi N'ssi into a funky R&B number that sounds very much like Stevie Wonder meets Khaled meets Marvin Gaye, all while adding a couple of fantastic, ripping wah-infused guitar solos. The rest of his arrangements are also excellent; he is able to enrich the traditional Arabian tracks with added synths, violin, oud and tabla, and he also vastly improves the arrangements of the more modern tracks. In many ways, this is as much a Steve Hillage record as it is a Taha, Khaled, & Faudel one; his presence is always felt, and in many ways it is the production and arrangements that are the highlights of the record.

Eray is a great vocal battle between Khaled & Faudel, the vocal equivalent of watching or hearing Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck ripping up a couple of strats. The jazz/rock/rai of the only Taha-penned track Ida is his best moment, while Steve Hillage's re-arrangement of N'ssi N'ssi, and Faudel's Tellement N'Brick both shine as well.

Those, while being highlights, aren't what make the record so stunning. Tracks 8 & 9 are beyond amazing, with the three masters taking the stage together for an unbelievable version of Khaled's hit Abdelkader, which far surpasses the original (more credit due to Steve Hillage here). As soon as that fantastic performance ends, Faudel & Khaled trade vocals on the masterpiece Aicha, with 15,000 fans singing along, forcing them to stop singing upon reaching the Arabic verse, and allow the thousands of uncontrollably enthusiastic fans to do the singing for them, both are as good on this as they are on Eray. After Faudel's solo performance of Tellement N'Brick, all three go into Khaled's massive hit Didi, which is possibly the most energetic, if not the best track on the disc, complete jazzy trumpets, fantastic synths, a magnificent sax solo, and an insane guitar solo to boot, it packs a gigantic punch. Immediately after the trio perform the classic Ya Rayah, which is a masterpiece in any setting, and possibly the best track here.

Overall, the production is fantastic, the band is fantastic, the arrangements are fantastic, the vocal performances are fantastic and above all, the music is fantastic. This is an essential disc for any fan of rai, world music, or any sort of music. A truly great live album, and that is a grand understatement.

Edited by adnan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Ohdistortedsmile1789

As taught in my English 101 class, italics are used for a complete work, such as a play, movie, or album. A song should be put in quotations.

It's a very nice review that you obviously spent alot of time on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Ohdistortedsmile1789
I spent 20 minutes on it! :lol:

Anyway, I'll change it into quotations. Fuck grammar.

Well, I suppose that's a good thing.

Yes, grammer can be a bitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...