This latest chapter in the musical explorations of composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Sangit features some remarkable guest female singers including Ladino superstar Yasmin Levy, Brazilian diva Mariene de Castro and Grammy Award winner Dobet Gnahoré.
Ooroo is the third album by the Israeli composer and multi-instrumentalist Sangit and means “gold” in the West African Bambara dialect. This is one of several featured languages, along with French, Portuguese, Hebrew, English and Spanish, which all contribute to the melting pot of traditions that is central to Sangit’s music.
Across these ten tracks Sangit features some remarkable and distinguished female singers from around the world who interpret Noa Golan’s heartfelt lyrics in their own distinctive styles. These beautiful voices are accompanied by different global percussive instruments, centred around the calabash, the large African gourd drum which underpins the layered sounds of analogue keyboards and electric guitars throughout the album.
The album kicks off with the beautiful voice of Sadio Sidibé whom Sangit discovered singing on Facebook. Hailing from the musical hotspot of Mali’s capital city Bamako, Sadio’s vocals shine on this minimalistic and hypnotic African blues-tinged opener.
African music has been a central influence on Sangit’s difficult-to-pigeon hole sound, and Ooroo sees him team up with other wonderful female voices from the African continent including the Grammy Award winning singer from the Ivory Coast Dobet Gnahoré on the wonderful ‘Danser’. This song is about the longing for the simplicity of village life, childhood and the comfort of dancing and prayer. Sangit plays the calabash, congas and shakers, which creates a layered African pop/dancehall type of rhythm.
The global spanning album features the Brazilian singer Mariene de Castro who famously performed at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics in front of the Olympic Flame before it was extinguished. Her spellbinding vocals on ‘Até Acabar’ are fittingly conveyed by Sangit: “Mariene carries the comforting words like a soft, devoted mother and her voice echoes the entire Amazon, bringing out the depth, simplicity and wonderful roundness of the Portuguese language.”
Another highlight is the beautiful ‘Ahora más cerca’ which features Yasmin Levy, one of the world's finest interpreters of Ladino music whose breathtaking vocals are both powerful and touching on this 6/8 ballad about longing for an impossible love. Likewise, another 6/8 ballad sees Spanish singer Sheila Quero deliver a performance of heartfelt intensity on the sweet, yet melancholic flamenco pop track ‘La Luna’. In the spirit of the tradition, Sheila sings about the search for the way back home, to who we really are and were.
Sangit’s goal for Ooroo was to achieve a balance between the musical trends of multiculturalism and the preservation of traditions. In his words, “Ooroo is a meeting between East and West, between roots and innovative, between powerful and soft, between rhythmic and touching.”