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Palm World Voices: Spirit
Palm World Voices Spirit
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 0min

AS HEARD ON NPR! Exploring the tranquil sounds of the Sahara and beyond, Spirit takes a mystical journey into the exotic world of the Mediterranean and Middle East, following the culture, history and breathtaking beauty o...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, International, Documentary
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Meditative Mediterranean and Middle East Journey
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 09/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""History is a mirror of the past and a lesson for the present." ~Persian Proverb

Light filtering through stained-glass windows is surrounded by mosaic walls melting into dry earth and ragged rocks. The contrast of exterior isolation with interior beauty and richness lends a meditative quality as the music invites you to breathe deeply and saturate your consciousness with burnt sienna sands shimmering in the sunlight.

The play of shadow and light across the sands lends a poetic mystery to a moving painting of camels in the Sahara. The mingling of modern and ancient along with the fascinating activities of daily life make this especially beautiful to watch. Palace courtyards and fountains present intrigue while narrow streets and dimly lit hallways provide refuge from the intense heat.

This CD/DVD set also includes a 48-page book describing this region and includes historical details, cultural significance and creations of wonder as transcribed by British journalist Robin Denselow. A 20" X 30" National Geographic Poster Map shows detailed information and gives a sense of place to the multimedia journey.

The CD is beautiful to listen to on its own and presents music from Bel Canto, Sussan Deyhim, Gabrielle Roth, Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses, Jamshied Sharifi, Anouar Brahem, Pre Fade Listening. The DVD also includes music by Erkan Ogur, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, TUU and Tinariwen.

Some of the gorgeous vistas and visions include sunsets and deserts from Jordan, nomadic drummers, markets of Marrakech, roadside views from Meknes to Midelt, Gnawa Musicians in Taouz, Horsemen, Roman ruins from Morocco, the famous Karaouiyine Mosque, The Rose City, Petra in Jordan, carpet makers in Fez, craftsmen and artisans, the making of pottery, dimly lit side streets and flowers from Egypt.

SPIRIT envisions a more peaceful existence in the daily life of routines that go back thousands of years. The mystical music winds and weaves through ancient landscapes and the ambient escape can also be a meditative journey.

~The Rebecca Review
Journey of the Spirit
Zekeriyah | Chicago, IL | 08/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"So, this deluxe packaged set is billed as a map, book, DVD and CD set showcasing the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. How does it stack up? Well, it is really best viewed as a complete audiovisual experience.

First of all, the map. Its a very nice 20" by 30" National Geographic map of the Middle East, North Africa and Mediterranean called 'People of the Desert.' The map not only shows the location of several historically important sites, like Rome, Alhambra, Babylon and such, but also some of the major ethnic groups of the region. It also has little boxes talking about the cultural achievements of the region. Overall, a very nice map, and one that looks nice hanging on my wall.

Next up, the book. Just under fifty pages, the book has some short blurbs about the history and culture of the region, the Persian, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the 1,001 Nights, Sufism, sites like Carthage, Leptis Magna, Petra, Istanbul and such, and even Shelley's poem Ozymandius. It is meant to complement the material shown on the map. But where it really shines forth is in the beautiful photography... Breathtaking images from the Sahara desert and high Atlas mountains, sunsets on the Nile, the ruins of Petra and Palmyra, Kairouan Mesjid in Tunisia, ancient Cappadocia, daily life on the streets of Fas, joyous Moroccan weddings and much more.

The book is far from an in depth look at life in the Islamic world, but it is a great little coffee table book for flipping through and admiring the stunning visual artistry.

Naturally, the DVD continues this, putting images and video to sound. Scenes from the vast Sahara desert and the Atlas mountains of Morocco, the bustling markets of Marrakech and the traditional craftsmen of Fas, Roman ruins in North Africa and the ancient city of Petra in Jordan are all used. The music is all atmospheric, ranging from the desert blues of Taureg rockers Tinariwen to the haunting Persian vocals of Sussan Deyhim to the skillful 'oud playing of Omar Faruk Tekbilek to the otherwordly sounds of Bel Canto. Over all, the music tends much more towards the ambient and ethereal than anything else. If you like that sort of thing, the DVD will be right up your alley. If you are looking for something more along the lines of a documentary, you'll have to go elsewhere.

The accompanying CD includes all twelve tracks from the DVD, for your listening pleasure whenever you want.

Overall, I liked the music. To be really honest, I'm a fan not only of Middle Eastern music but also of more ethereal bands (many of whom have been influenced by Arabic and Persian traditions) like Dead Can Dance, Rajna, The Cocteau Twins, Vas and so forth. But... I'm not sure whether it would have served the purposes of this CD to include more traditional and contemporary music from the Middle East. The booklet actually mentions major Arab artists like Ilham al-Madfai, Rachid Taha and so forth, who do not appear on the CD/DVD.

On the other hand, the etheral quality of the CD is certainly enjoyable, and they did include a number of artists from the region (Omar Faruk Tekbilek is Turkish and well acquainted with regional traditions, Tinariwen is the ORIGINAL Taureg rock band, Sussan Deyhim and Jamshied Sharifi are both of Iranian, Anouar Brahem is a very respected 'oud composer, etc). Its just that this beautiful compilation, as enjoyable as it is, does not accurately reflect Middle Eastern musical tastes. Its more like an audio-visual side trip to the Sahara, similar to a Dead Can Dance concert or the 1992 film Baraka. Something worth pointing out for those unfamiliar with the region.

If you love ethnic-tinged ambiance, then this deluxe collection will certainly be right up your alley. It also makes an excellent gift for those who share such tastes. Also worth noting, from the heavy advertising on this collection, Palm World has other similar collections focusing on the music, visuals and cultures of India, Africa and Brazil as well, which also likely warrant checking out. But 'Spirit' sounded most up my alley, and so far I've loved every minute of it."