1989, Music

Passion – Sources (1989) by Various Artists, curated by Peter Gabriel

On the one hand, this is a fine collection of “world” music, featuring all sorts of interesting pieces from different cultures. Moreover, it was released in connection to an “event” Hollywood film, meaning that this type of music got unprecedented exposure in North America.

On the other hand, like all or at least most “world” music compilations, this compiles a bunch of unrelated or somewhat-related musical traditions and passes them off as one thing, namely “world music.” Someone like me, interested in the history of music almost as much as the act of listening to music, is given no context for these performances.

Worse, Gabriel cut some of these performances and overdubbed his music onto others, meaning that we don’t even get the actual performances. It’s like he didn’t trust us (and maybe CDs couldn’t handle the lengths of the originals). This is a bit like the Godzilla to the originals’ Gojira.

I get that Gabriel curated this, and these are the performances that inspired his score, and so it’s his right to jump around like this; it’s a personal statement about his musical interests rather than some kind of authoritative statement about Middle Eastern and North African (and Indian???) music.

And so I guess that’s why I’m being a little kinder than I’m inclined as it drives me nuts when westerners meddle with non-western cultural artifacts because the western audience supposedly cannot handle the original versions.


  • “Shamus-Ud-Doha Bader-Ud-Doja” – 4:53 – performed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party (Pakistan)
  • “Call to Prayer” – 3:54 – performed by Baaba Maal (Senegal)
  • “Sankarabaranam Pancha Nadai Pallavi” – 5:05 – performed by Shankar and the Epidemics (India)
  • “Ulvi” – 1:37 – performed by Kudsi Erguner (Turkey)
  • “Fallahi” – 3:00 – performed by Hossam Ramzy (Egypt)
  • “Sabahiya” – 2:21 – performed by Banga (Tanta-Suaag) (Egypt)
  • “Tejbeit (Ethiopian Bar Song)” – 2:44 – performed by unknown Ethiopian musicians
  • “Prelude in Tchahargah” – 3:19 – performed by Mahmoud Tabrizi Zadeh (Iran)
  • “Wedding Song” – 2:42 – performed by unknown Moroccan musicians
  • “Magdalene’s House” – 2:48 – performed by Abdul Aziz el-Sayed (Iran)
  • “Yoky” – 2:08 – performed by Fatala (Guinea)
  • “Ya Sah” – 2:21 – performed by Nass El Ghiwane (Morocco)
  • “Al Nahla Al ‘Ali” – 2:56 – performed by Les Musiciens du Nil (Egypt)
  • “Song of Complaint” – 3:08 – performed by Andranik Askarian and Khatchadour Khatchaturian (Armenia)

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