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Jerusalem In My Heart. Daqa’iq Tudaiq.
2018. self-released.

Montréal artists Jerusalem in my Heart have put together a heavy and powerful album, Daqa’iq Tudaiq, that draws from the golden era of Arabic poetry and music in North Africa. Made up of composer and producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, who moved to Montréal from Beirut in the 90s, and Québécois visual artist and filmmaker Charles-André Coderre, Jerusalem In My Heart are adept at blurring artistic boundaries, but also at taking extraordinary risks with their creations. Their deep ties to electronic weirdness and madcap ideas couple with a love for the roots of the traditions that first drew them in. The first half of Daq’ai Tudaiq is the fulfillment of a long-held dream from Moumneh to record a modern orchestral version of the song “Ya Garat Al Wadi” from the legendary Egyptian singer and composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab. Wahab got his start in the 1930s, inspired by French film, and oversaw a golden era of Arab and Egyptian film and music, fusing Western music with the decidedly non-Western Arabic classical scales and musical philosophies. To update the sound of Arab film music from the mid-20th century, Moumneh and Coderre flew to Beirut to record a 15 piece orchestra with composer Sam Shalabi of Montréal and Cairo as arranger and musical director. Moumneh’s vocals are glorious and ride over the deep reverb and echoing grandeur of the Arab orchestra. The other half of the album gets more experimental. “Bein Ithnein” moves into a tranced-out grinding noise world that Jerusalem In My Heart have played in before, while “Thahab, Mish Roujou’, Thahab” rips into a fractured state beyond auto-tune as vocals and glottal stops and throat sounds clear through a smoke haze of near throat singing. It’s beautiful and confusing and powerfully affecting. “Layali Al-Rast”, which follows, is a lengthy exploration on oud from Moumneh with deep reverberations. I’m listening to the album on Spotify as I write this, so the review is coming out as a music review, but Jerusalem In My Heart is really an audio-visual project. Check out the video below for “Thahab, Mish Roujou’” and you can see the larger vision at work. 16mm video of the Beirut musicians filmed at the time of recording is combined with archival images and bled through a psychedelic kind of color saturation that overflows the processed vocals of Moumneh. It’s a spectacular and mind-altering combination of genres that reflects Jerusalem In My Heart’s approach to music and the visual arts.