Yasmine Hamdan - Ya Nass
Since forming electro duo Soapkills in the late 1990s, Beirut-born Hamdan has been reimagining Arabic tradition for modern times. This solo debut, made with French producerMarc Collin, updates the intense, sensual style of bygone divas such as Oum Kalthoum with elan, setting her sultry voice to acoustic-cum-synth arrangements and mixing antique songs with her own. There's plenty of dreamy pop, likeDeny" and "Samar, but also political commentary on In Kan Fouadi (a 40s number) and longing and danger, nowhere more than Hal, written for Jim Jarmusch's imminent vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive, where Hamdan has a cameo. Coolio.