Consumer Guide Album
Mariem Hassan Con Leyoad: Mariem Hassan Con Leyoad [Nubenegra, 2002]
From Algeria-based Western Saharan exiles circa 2002, the most powerful single-artist desert disc I've heard. Hassan is a nurse and mother who obtained a divorce from her first husband because he wouldn't let her sing. Resolute, soul-struck, transported by struggle, she's the heart of guitarist Baba Salama's music, and while a male singer named Jalihena is very much present, women's voices dominate--not just Hassan, but her comrade Shueta and on several tracks whole keening choruses. A cooperative sonic gestalt more progressive genderwise than that of most Judeo-Christian bands that bring men and women together, it's also surer of itself--probably because everybody involved has something to fight for.