El Hechizo de Babilonia

Easily one of the most conceptually inspired world titles released this year, El Hechizo de Babilonia (The Spell of Babylon) sets to music the poetry of medieval al-Andalus (Moorish Spain) women.

Easily one of the most conceptually inspired world titles released this year, El Hechizo de Babilonia (The Spell of Babylon) sets to music the poetry of medieval al-Andalus (Moorish Spain) women. The album was tracked in Delgado's instrument museum in Valladolid, Spain, where he has collected all manner of premodern instruments. (He is a master of Magrhebian stringed instruments and a scholar of al-Andalus music.) Working with such vocalists as Maria del Mar Bonet and Mariem Hassan, Delgado creates haunting versions of jarcha and moaxaja poetry, authored by Hamda Bint Ziyat Al Muáddib and Hafsa Bint Al Hayy Al-Rakuniyya, among others. He also includes four instrumental tracks, all in the Spanish/al-Andalus manner. Without question, Delgado has captured the sensuality and yearning of this unique medieval poetry while giving the authors an evocative new voice. Distributed by Allegro. —PVV