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The program mixes performance footage with musician interviews, and for something as far off the mainstream musical map as Iraqi maqam, the explanations and history prove invaluable; the cultural illumination comes from the voices of the musicians themselves, without obtrusive narrators. Most important, the pieces featured are presented in full, not broken up or interrupted by talking heads. It's very difficult to track down recordings by Al-Saadi in the U.S., so having a document like this readily available is something we should all be grateful for. Obviously, watching a YouTube video doesn't match catching the show in HD, but these 60 minutes are pretty terrific. The concert was one of the best I've experienced this year, a feeling the video only reinforces.
The next episode of Musicology, which airs every Friday at 9 PM, will feature the Creole Choir of Cuba.
Prince Far I, Silver & Gold: 1973-1979 (Blood and Fire)
Heartless Bastards, Arrow (Partisan)
Evan Parker, House Full of Floors (Tzadik)
General Echo, Teacher Fi Di Class (Equalizer)
Willem Breuker Kollektief, Summer Music: Willem Breuker Kollektief à Paris (Marge)