“An exciting, contemporary, breath of fresh air.” – Dyan Garris
Every now and again, I come across music that is so compelling as to be called, “outstanding.” That is “Call of the Desert,” the 4th album from multi-instrumentalist and composer, Samer Fanek.
The piano-driven album came out of California based, Samer’s sincere and heartfelt longing for Jordan, his homeland. Along with piano and string orchestration, the album incorporates some exotic Middle Eastern instrumentation such as the oud, tabla, qanun, ney, and riq.
The music on all 10 tracks is rich, multi-faceted, melodic, and flowing, perhaps not unlike a soft desert breeze at times. Evoking images of both East and West, in an amazingly successful merge, there is much more here, and the music is calming and relaxing, with a truly extraordinary beauty and heartbeat throughout.
The album opens with “Call of the Desert – Part I” (and ends with “Call of the Desert – Part II”). In each of those pieces, we can literally feel the emotions of the “call” back to “home.” Both parts were created with the original intention of being performed back-to-back live in concert as a full 8-minute song. They do feel as if they truly belong together. I’m hoping Samer gets to realize this dream, because as I said, the music is extraordinarily beautiful and Samer is quite musically gifted. With a full orchestra involved, this would, indeed, be a concert to remember.
The piano, throughout, is performed with a sensitivity and grace that only comes with plenty of innate musical talent, and a great deal of practice, of course. There’s a true and natural elegance here that cannot be contrived and perhaps not even taught. It is just here. As well, it is completely impossible to choose a favorite on this album. I genuinely love it all.
Here are some highlights: I should mention that I have lived in the Arizona desert for many years – and yes, it is a different desert – but something one comes to appreciate is that far from being barren places, deserts have their own unique and surprising beauty. Samer has captured that beauty in more than one way.
One thing that stands out here is the movement, flow, and build of all the pieces. Delving deeply into the music, I find that much more than an “East meets West” find of thing, there is more of an exciting, “alive,” and contemporary feel to this album that is completely refreshing on every single level. There is a cinematic feel to many of the compositions, but not ostentatious or overblown in any way. This is music from the very heart and soul of Samer Fanek.
“Nighttime Celebration,” as the title describes, is joyful, exciting, and lively with an intriguing melody. And we have that perfect, authentically played piano, along with a great beat. The colorful and upbeat, “The Old Arabic Shop” puts a spring in our step, as we imagine ourselves strolling through a lively Arabic Bazar, perhaps. It feels like an adventure. “Mediterranean Moments” has a similar, exotic feel. “Pleading to You” is romantic, melodic, flowing, and emotionally stirring. Just lovely, all.
I wish I could address every track here because I believe, without question, you will be compelled to get the whole thing. Have a listen for yourself. First rate from top to bottom. Yes, truly outstanding.
Release date: 4/30/2022
Listen/pre-order/order here: https://samerfanek.bandcamp.com/album/call-of-the-desert
Official artist website: https://www.samerfanek.com
Samer’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/SamerFanek
Connect with Samer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamerFanekMusic