"10 A.D." Album Review - Rootstime - Belgium - 2021


Read review on new album

"Tania Saleh has been a “name” in the contemporary global music world for a while. This is partly because she was already picked up a few records ago by the Norwegian Kirkelig Kulturverksted from the gradually legendary Erik Hillestad. Over the past ten or twelve years, this man has meant a great deal to musicians from all over the world, who have ended up in or around Norway, with his organization, such as the Lebanese Tania Saleh.

We became acquainted with her and her music seven years ago, when her “A few images” album was released, which was by no means her debut. That is still more than a dozen years earlier, so you can say that Saleh has been on the road for two decades and is now on her seventh outing with this album. Musically, that is, because the lady is also active as a graphic artist and composer of film music.

On this new record -the title stands for “Ten Years after Divorce” she takes a closer look at the position of women: in countries such as her motherland, she is anything but enviable and you have to say, perhaps with some sense of exaggeration, that for quite some what men are to women a washing, cooking and incubator, without too many self-feelings. As a result, women are dehumanized quite easily and have little or no say, not even over their own body and limbs.

In ten songs -the lyrics are fortunately also printed in English in the CD booklet- she settles, in a form that she describes as “Indie-Arabic”, with the way a woman, who has dared it, draws a line. under a bleak and hopeless marriage, treatment is done in a country like Lebanon, which was once counted among the top civilizations. From there she opens up the themes to the wider world, where the woman's self-determination is increasingly less likely to be taken for granted.

You would expect a lot of melancholic music with such heavy-handed themes, but that is precisely the strength of this record: it sounds surprisingly light-footed and thus radiates a lot of hope and strength. Tania smiles, while she kicks… you have to read the lyrics to “Anyone but you”, “I Hate Everything” or “We Are in a Fix”: here is no man hater talking, but a self-aware woman who is aware of her self-worth and who demands respect for who and what she is.

However, due to the beautiful orchestration of the songs, the message never sounds pamphletary or garish and it is dignity that reigns everywhere. The result is a very beautiful, deeply personal record of a woman who knows what she wants and who would like to be able to pursue it in a human, acceptable way. So this is about universal human rights and for that reason alone it is essential and above all wonderfully sung."