Andalusian Mel M'rabet, who now works out of Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa & Spain, effectively combined ancient and modern. He brought a four-piece band with him to the Brigantine Room from the nation's capital and offered up what he terms Andalusian fusion, which incorporates elements of Mideast, flamenco, funk,latin- jazz and more.
He sang and gave his oud/guitar (the fretless stringed ancestor of the Renaissance lute) an exciting, dexterous workout, and for once the Western backup music and technology didn't sanitize or ravage the authenticity of the songs in the way that many traveling bands with their barrage of electronic gadgetry do.
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star
The vision of Cuban keyboard wizard Omar Sosa is one of world jazz, where musical threads from different Afro-American traditions meet and intermingle, and where varied harmonies, rhythms and instruments take Latin jazz beyond anything else being played today. And if Sosa's genius weren't enough, on this evening his special guest is Mel M'rabet, the Moroccan-born, Granada-raised composer/musician - himself a blender of jazz, funk and the more exotic.
Mel M'rabet & Kalima create pure fire with international all star band bridging the New sounds of Latin-Flamenco Rumba- Arabic, Asian fusion North-African-Flamenco and world music on a new album entitled Andalusian Legacy. M'rabet, master of the oud and saz, as well as guitar, this exquisite singer has broken much new ground in his career. With his new band, Kalima, he takes his greatest leap to date, and the results are celebrated on the Andalusian Legacy release.
Lula Lounge review
Whereas most Andalusian instrumentalists are content to imitate human voice techniques, M'rabet has set out to explore new ways of playing world music. Yet he does not fall into the trap of letting virtuosity become an end in itself: his desire to excel always takes second place to his innovative impulse and thirst to explore uncharted musical terrain. His new fingernail technique will soon draw interest and perhaps criticism among traditionalists of the oud/Guitar.
Granada Oud/Guitar player, Mel M'rabet, has demonstrated a great dexterity never seen before, at the Brigantine room, part of the World Music Festival at Harbourfront Centre. M'rabet bases his fusion on his roots and intertwines them with western instruments. So many artists use eastern instruments as decoration, he on the other hand does the contrary.