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by World Music November 25, 2021


Sonlines Best Album of 2021 - Ben Aylon: 'Xalam'

We are proud to announce that 'Xalam' by Ben Aylon has been selected by Songlines as one of The 10 Best Albums of 2021!

Songlines Rating: ★★★★★

"What stands out is how seamlessly Aylon has absorbed the essence of different West African styles – from Mande griot music to Senegalese mbalax via desert blues – and distilled them into a unique and highly compelling montage to emerge as the blackest toubab (white man) in West Africa. " - Nigel Williamson



Many years in the making, Ben produced this album to reflect his musical vision and journey to date, always respecting tradition whilst at the same time innovating and elevating the music and instruments of Mali and Senegal into a fresh contemporary setting. Coming from Israel, a country with its own melting pot of traditions, Ben naturally developed a sense of how to absorb the essence of the different music styles he encountered. His intention for the album was that the listener “can experience the direct influences of rhythms from Senegal, takamba (ceremonial music) from Gao, and warm analogue effects, all filtered through a Middle Eastern temperament.”

Sadly, Doudou Ndiaye Rose and Khaira Arby have left us since the recordings, both passing away on Ben's birth date of August 19th which Ben emotionally describes as” a unique sign which puts the album's whole creation under a spiritual light, giving the listeners unreleased music by these two musical legends.”