M’berra is the sound, the story, of a collective of Malian musicians from the M’berra Refugee Camp in southeast Mauritania and Italian producer and electro-shaman Khalab. In a sprawling tent city rising out of the desert, out of nothingness, at the border with Mali in West Africa, brought together by spirit and circumstance, the group’s Arab and Tuareg members find solace and beauty in music and song.
Sea birds, distorted noise, and then the line “Mighty ships hung over ground” — the marine theme not only begins but makes its mark throughout the entirety of A Lantern and a Bell. The soundscape, with Emil Svanängen's unmistakable falsetto at the very front of the mix, is extremely stripped down. A compliant piano, a discreet double bass, occasional chords, and diffused water sounds, at dark low frequencies, pulsating from unknown depths.
Moroccan-French power quartet, Bab L’ Bluz, reclaim the blues for North Africa. Fronted by an African-Moroccan woman in a traditionally male role, Bab L’ Bluz are devoted to a revolution in attitude which dovetails with Morocco’s ‘nayda’ youth movement – a new wave of artists and musicians taking their cues from local heritage, singing words of freedom in the Moroccan-Arabic dialect of darija.