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There must be something in the air, soil or food in Belgium. How else to explain that from such a small country emerges so much beautiful music? Autodidact guitarist Karim Baggili surprised us earlier this year with his gorgeous Cuatro con cuatro album as a very gifted musician. With his solo project Douar, he now communicates at an even more intense emotional level - ten original compositions and one traditional, mostly solo guitar or oud, here and there an overdub and on two tracks some light cajon or conga percussion compliments of Etienne Serck.

A solo album by a very talented guitarist is usually prone to showing off all manner of exhibitionism. Karim Baggili does not fall for showiness and commits all his energy in taking the listener on a musical journey with him. He invites us gently into his own musical reality, of landscapes that are influenced by Flamenco and the Balkan, Greek and Arab worlds. The word 'douar' in the Arabian language signifies a village of tents and seems a very appropriate name for the album. It's as though each tent housed a different cultural style which Karim incorporates in his music. With each musical style, Karim also uses a different finger-picking technique. Classical, flamenco and jazz fingerings are all used to perfection. Karim's overall playing style is warm, rounded and emotionally expressive.

The recordings were made at two separate locations, two years apart and by different recording engineers. Although the sound thus varies accordingly, by interleaving tracks and different presentation styles of the songs, the album gains even more attractiveness. From the opening "Parolosturdus" with its additional conga, the flowing lyrical theme of "Eau Forte", the touching soulfulness of "Lua", the driving force in "Douar" and the classical touches in "Clochette" to the eerie sound of the upper oud strings in "Racset Siti" and "Aton", the album remains wholly mesmerizing.

Besides the wonderful musical content, this CD is also mastered with care. Dynamics are fine and the album is not ‘hot’