This album establishes the London-based Israeli singer Mor Karbasi as one of the great young divas of the global music scene, alongside the likes of Mariza or Yasmin Levy. Like Levy, she is an exponent of Ladino music, and the songs that survive from the late 15th century, when the Jewish and Muslim communities in Spain were expelled by the Christians. But Karbasi has her own, highly individual approach to the music, and she sounds as dramatic as she looks, switching effortlessly from songs that mix flamenco and North African influences, such as the opening track, Roza, through to old Ladino songs. Her voice is remarkable, mixing delicacy, power and control as she moves between rousing, harsh-edged songs and the spine-tingling subtlety of a quieter piece such as Nuestros Amores. Like many of the best new songs here, it was written by Karbasi herself, along with her impressive co-producer Joe Taylor, who also plays anything from guitar and bass to harmonium. This is surely one of the albums of the year.
Rubrik: Israel, Sephardic, Mediterranean, Nordafrika, Maghreb