05/06/2024French-Moroccan Powerhouse Bab L’ Bluz Drops Second High-Octane LP Adding To The Fire Of Their Previous Outing

"Psychedelic Morockan Blues", is the fitting descriptor to what kind of music the French-Moroccan powerhouse Bab L' Bluz makes. Led by Yousra Mansour, the band arrived on the scene in 2020 with its breakthrough debut full-length "Nayda" and the intention to "reclaim the blues for North Africa." Delivering a tightly arranged, high-octane blend of Gnawa styles with rockstar energy and conviction, the four-piece quickly made a name for itself on the global circuit and now returns with its sophomore effort. Picking up right where they left off, Bab L' Bluz recently released "Swaken" on Real World Records, offering eleven new heavyweight tracks for audiences to get lost in.

"This is ancient-to-future music, rooted as much in psychedelic blues, funk and rock as in the trancey, propulsive rhythms of northern Africa's Maghreb: Gnawa, Amazigh, Hassani and Houara music. The popular street music known as Chaabi, in which the word 'swaken' means to visit another dimension, as well as the space in which two dimensions overlap," the release notes read. Yousra Mansour's "melismatic voice" is front and center, singing in her native Darija tongue, accompanied by "the riffage from her electric awisha lute" with "her bandmates [contributing] everything from keyboards, flutes and electric guembri to drums, backing vocals and qraqeb castanets." Poised to rekindle the fire of their previous outing, Bab L' Bluz present yet another delirious mix destined to send listeners into a positive frenzy. 

"We are living and consuming as if we're running out of time, and have lost sight of who we are, of what matters," says Mansour. "We need to appreciate the life we are living now." If anything, their artistic ambition is to help society regain its bearings: "Music that makes you forget to remember, that takes you over, sends you under, into a place of clarity and connection. A place that shakes us up to bring us peace." That being said, why not let "Swaken" be your spiritual guide for the next 45 minutes. We'll see you on the other side!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom