Sinouj describe themselves as Afromediterranean; I could tell you that one member comes from Tunisia, another from Spain, etc. but to do so would also do a disservice to the culturally blended sound that they strive to and succeed in achieving.
Part of Sinouj’s charm is a core of late 50s, early 60s style Jazz/bebop, which has been expanded to incorporate more modern technology (for example, hints of electronics at the start of title track Were and on Haka Aka), the juxtaposition of alto sax against Asian violins to give a truly global feel, incorporation of Arab–African rhythms and middle-eastern melodies, and even funk on tracks like Mahgreb Cosmos.
This is a really lovely album, especially for fans of Jazz, who might be a bit put off by the experimental blasts of bands such as Led Bib, Polar bear, and their ilk. The whole is unique, but evokes Coltrane at his most melodic on tracks such as Wech, has a cover of the classic Mulatu Astatke track, Yerkemo Sew, which drew my attention to the album in the first place.
That they chose to cover Ethiopian Jazz legend, Astatke, I think, gives some indication to the sound that you will hear from Sinouj. And boy do they treat it extremely well!
Somehow Sinouj have just got everything just right; the balance is perfect. Were, at the same time, sounds modern and classic, global and homely, unique and comfortably recognisable.
Favourite tracks: Haka Aka, Wech, Mahgreb Cosmos
Spotify link: Sinouj – Were