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Jerusalem In My Heart

Jerusalem In My Heart - Mo7it Al-Mo7it

Mo7it Al-Mo7it
Constellation - 2013

Michael Panontin
Radwan Ghazi Moumneh's Jerusalem in My Heart project has been kicking around Montreal's ever-fertile experimental scene for the better part of about eight years now. The Lebanese national, who divides his time - musically, that is - between the Quebec metropolis and Beirut, has been a fixture there for years. As co-owner of the famed hotel2tango studios, he has been responsible for recording a wide swath of that city's more interesting discs. Here he teams up with visual artist Malena Szlam Salazar and producer Jeremie Regnier, weaving film, vocals and theatrics into JIMH's riveting aural/visual spectacles. With performances rare, usually only a couple a year, and with no two the same, it is no wonder that it has taken so long for an actual recording to surface.

Mo7it Al-Mo7it - the title is colloquial Arabic textspeak and a reference to Lebanese educator Boutros Al-Bustani's book Circumference of the Ocean - takes classically sung Arabic, treats it with distortion, tape echos and delays, and melds it with more industrial-strength synths and electronics. Moumneh's singing on the opener 'Koll lil-mali7ati fi al-khimar al-aswadi' is a haunting drone of profound intensity and thus seems to set the tone right off the bat. 'Yudaghdegh al-ra3ey wala al-ghanam' is even better, with its treated vocals buttressed by a retro synthesizer that harkens back to Terry Reilly's late sixties offerings. Elsewhere, a couple of lithe instrumentals, '3andalib al-furat' and 'Ya dam3et el-ein 3', showcase Moumneh's considerable talents on the bouzouk and also manage to keep the record's almost overpowering solemnity in check. It won't be a million-seller, but Mo7it Al-Mo7it is still a fine addition to Constellation's bulging roster of talent.


     Jerusalem In My Heart

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