Jerusalem in My Heart — „Qalaq“ (Oct. 8, 2021)

LEBANON FLAGCANADA emoji                                                                       Jerusalem in My Heart — „Qalaq“ (Oct. 8, 2021)
Location: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Album release: Oct. 8, 2021
Record Label: Constellation Records
Duration:     41:48
01. Abyad Barraq (w/Greg Fox)   4:46 
02. Sa’at (w/Alexei Perry Cox)   4:37
03. Istashraqtaq (w/Beirut)   3:10
04. Tanto (w/Lucrecia Dalt)   3:21
05. ’Ana Lisan Wahad (w/Farida Amadou & Pierre~Guy Blanchard)   5:02
06. 0Qalaq 1 (w/Alanis Obomsawin & Diana Combo)   2:04
07. Qalaq 2 (w/Roger Tellier~Craig)   2:29
08. Qalaq 3 (w/Moor Mother)   1:39
09. Qalaq 4 (w/Rabih Beaini)  3:03
10. Qalaq 5 (w/Oiseaux~Tempête)   4:35
11. Qalaq 6 (w/VIZ [Réka Csiszér])   2:23
12. Qalaq 7 (w/Tim Hecker)   2:32
13. Qalaq 9 (w/Mayss, Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui & Raed Yassin)   2:01

⊇  Recorded and mixed in Montréal, QC
⊇  Mastered by Heba Kadry, NYC
⊇  Front cover photograph by Myriam Boulos, taken in Beirut on 18 October 2019
⊇  Back cover lettering by Kristyan Sarkis
⊇  Black and white photographs by Tony Elieh, taken in Beirut in August 2020
⊇  Insert design by Maya Moumneh
From Palestine to Turtle Island,
From the river to the sea,

★⊇  The title of Jerusalem in My Heart’s new album Qalaq, is an Arabic word with multiple meanings that producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh translates as “deep worry.” In truth, the long~running Montréal multimedia project has never been worry~free; past albums use a fusion of Arabic instrumentation and electronic sound design to process subjects like ongoing conflicts in of Lebanon — Moumneh’s birthplace — and Palestinian erasure in Gaza. But in a unique time of so many compounding sorrows, such a layered word feels right. Constructed from recordings shared with collaborators across the globe during lockdown, Qalaq is an intimate album of orchestral proportions and the most ambitious release of Jerusalem In My Heart’s long career.
★⊇  Each of these tracks features a different collaborator. While that can often be challenging to hold together as an album, Qalaq’s power is only amplified by its large cast. There’s a genuine sense that each of these artists are bringing their own concerns and strengths to the table. “Situated between the cracks of a broken tomorrow/ I worry,” intones Moor Mother on “Qalaq 3,” part of the title suite stretching half the album. Percussionists Greg Fox and Diana Combo contribute blast beats and finger drumming, Tim Hecker and Fly Pan Am’s Roger Tellier~Craig scramble sounds, while Lucrecia Dalt and legendary Canadian filmmaker, singer, and First Nations activist Alanis Obomsawin deliver haunting vocals. Absorbing passages of buzuk (like “Istashraqtaq,” with Beirut) are reminiscent of early Jerusalem in My Heart, but Moumneh mostly embraces the unknown here, finding a brief beautiful respite in “Qalaq 5” and chaos in the abrupt closing sound collage “Qalaq 9.” Moumneh offers no release to this deep worry in the end, but Jerusalem In My Heart has never been interested in simple catharsis. Instead he finds a strength in unity, an essential theme to this remarkable project, that Qalaq expresses on an inspiringly global scale.