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On her album “Arco Iris”, which is Spanish for “rainbow”, the Moroccan singer and songwriter Amina Alaoui, who now lives in Spain, imagines her own Iberian Peninsula: a latter-day Andalusia where the Middle East and Europe meet with espressive arabesques and tragic, romantic, mystical poetry. It’s a fusion without a glimmer of modern impatience, slocely contemplatng every phrase.
Jon Pareles, New York Times

Entourée d’un quintette de musiciens d’une finesse exemplaire, la chanteuse et compositrice marocaine Amina Alaoui dessine ce qu’elle nomme la “géographie poétique” de la péninsule Ibérique. Si le répertoire arabo-andalou (plus particulièrement la tradition Gharnati, une forme originaire de Grenade) est depuis toujours son chemin musical, la chanteuse entend dans le fado et le flamenco des signes qui l’interpellent.
Le Monde

On “Arco Iris”, Moroccan singer Amina Alaoui not only makes illuminating connections between flamenco, fado and ghamati (Arabic music with origins in and araound Granada), but reveals a deep understanding of the kinship between duende and tarab, the ecstatic states obtained through, respectively, flamenco and Arabic music. She also demonstrates the rare ability to make traditional music sound starkly contemporary and to imbue her original compositions with a timeless aura, which is particularly effective in her settings of centuries-old texts.
Bill Shoemaker, Point of departure

Eine fantastische, gänsehautschöne Reise.
Freizeit Kurier

A pan-Iberian music, with full Arabic and Persian roots in evidence. Her music is like the drama of an eternal present.
Jeff Simon, Buffalo News

Auf Jon Balkes Album “Siwan” verzauberte sie schon mit ihrem Gesang. Die Marokkanerin Amina Alaoui legt nun mit „Arco Iris“ ein eigenes Album vor, das unter die Haut geht. Als Araberin schaut sie auf die Musikkulturen Andalusiens, beleuchtet Flamenco und Fado und interpretiert diese Genres doch ganz eigen. Das musikalische Erbe einer Region wird ver- und aufgearbeitet in ergreifende Stücke Musik.
Christoph Giese, Jazzthetik

Car c’est bien d’une femme amoureuse de toutes les musiques, et de toutes les inspirations, dont il s’agit ici, à la recherché de toutes les harmonies, et de tous les appariements de musiques. [...] Arco Iris réalise donc cette rencontre multiple, sensuelle et sensible, au cœur d’une Espagne ouverte à toutes les influences, et repoussant ses emotions aux confines de la Méditerranée. L’album décrypte également l’invention d’un nouvel art de vivre ensemble, par-delà les différences ethniques, et les musiques communes wui peuvent en découler. Nombreuses comme les couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel.
Christian Larrède, Music-Story.com

Wie eine Art Konzentrat aus musikalischen Aromen und geschichtlichen Facetten des Mittelmeerraums ist das erste ECM-Album der Sängerin und Komponistin Amina Alaoui angelegt.
Christian Stolberg, Sono Magazin

Amina Alaoui’s ECM solo debut, Arco Iris, is a stunningly beautiful album, filled with musical elements that really do seem to span the globe. It all stems from the depth of musical knowledge Amina has spent her life amassing. Born in Fez, she was originally schooled in the Moroccan Gharnati tradition. She has also studied European classical music, medieval chant, and Persian song forms. One of the many brilliant aspects of Arco Iris is her ability to blend these influences into a style all her own. […] Her talent, and desire to find common ground between all form of music is a quality that is extremly captivating. She is very definitely an artist to watch.
Greg Barbrick, Seattlepi / Blogcritics

Cè una voce in Marocco: Si chiama Amina e conquisterà il mondo
Andrea Morandi, Il Venerdi

The sheer beauty of Alaoui’s voice transcends language barriers. Pitch, tone, intonation and the way she plays “cath and release” with each note all combine for an intimate and highly personal experience.
Brent Black, Digital Jazznews

La suavité de cette voix aux mille émotions voyage entre Andalousie, Portugal, Maghreb et Orient, au gré d’improvisations libres autour de thèmes traditionnels. [...] L’équilibre entre toutes ces origines s’approche de la perfection par ce savant mélange entre les effluves sonores improvisés d’une guitare flamenca et le lyrisme d’un violon sauvage du désert.
Tristan Loriaut, Les Dernières Nouvelles de Jazz

It’s a magical musical alchemy if there ever was one. It’s music to levitate and dream to. Musical elixirs like these only come rarely. Highest recommendation.
Tom Schnabel, KCRW blog

Amina Alaoui hat das, was der Spanier “duende” nennt. Eine Seele, der sie dank ihres wunderbaren Gesangs Ausdruck verleiht. Begleitet von Violine, Oud, Mandoline und Flamenco-Gitarre entführt uns Alaoui in die maurisch geprägte mediterrane Welt vor der katholischen Inquisition. Ein Fest der Sinne.
Stereo

Conjunyeix el fado, el flamenco I qüestiona la lirica mediterrània amb un estil personal. [...] L’artista marroquina, de marcada sensualitat expressiva, posseeix un poder cantable que manifesta obertament amb un fraseig de gran musicalitat. En aquesta selecció destaquen les intimes improvisacions, suaus i plaents, dels diferents intèrprets que espurnegen vitalitat i una gran tècnica instrumental. [...] Tots ells liderats per Amina Alaoui posen la intelligència al servei de la comunicació sonora, amb libertat, amb gosadia i bellesa. Sempre sorprèn, descobrir noves apostes d’elegants sonoritats que impulsen, amb minuciositat i disciplina, nous vocabularis musicals.
Marçal Borotau, Supplement de discos

The songs and the text span centuried, and the recording is as rich and multilayered as the music. Track 4, “Flor de nieve”, is the ideal introduction.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

Beautiful, dreamy stuff from – who else? – the ever-adventurous ECM label, which has given the Moroccan singer, composer, poet and scholar Amina Alaoui free rein after her compelling debut performance as the voice of Jon Balke’s 2008 Album “Siwan”. Flanked by an ensemble of musicians on oud, violin, mandolin, guitar and percussion, the multi-awardwinning Alaoui lends her tremulous, crystalline tones to a veritable rainbow of songs: to mystic poems by saints and ancient kings, to nature poetry in homage to the verdant Andalucia. Truly exemplary.
Jane Cornwell, Jazzwise

The best recordings are those that attract instantly and continue to reveal further brilliance over time and repeated listening. Such is the case with this sumptuous and extraordinary delight from Moroccan musician, scholar and singer Amina Alaoui…Four arragements by guitarist Jose Luis Monton shine, including the tender instrumental Moradia and the 15th century Las Morillas de Jaen set to a fiery flamenco rhythm; all essential elements of a transcendent recording of the year.
Michael Rofe, The Australian

Amina Alaoui’s “Arco Iris” is exquisite from start to finish, and respendently justifies the intention of her liner note – to explore the emotional geography of the Morisco soul, fed as it is by the different religious traditions of North Africa and the Iberian performances on oud, violin, guitar, mandolin, and percussion, she sings everything from fado to tarab, using texts from medieval Andalusia.
Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine

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