Jerusalem In My Heart
As a co-founder of Hotel2Tango, the legendary recording studio and hub of Montréal's experimental music scene, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh spends his days producing records for some of the nation's most acclaimed independent acts. For nearly a decade, he refused to commit his own music to tape. His performances as Jerusalem In My Heart, the audio-visual project he shares with filmmaker Charles-Andre Coderre, were a fixture in the Montréal underground, but they were improvised and amorphous, alive in a way that resisted recording. Thankfully, in 2012 Moumneh relented, releasing his debut Mo7it Al-Mo7it on Constellation Records. Anchored by Moumneh's bazuk (a traditional lute-like instrument) and his emotive vocals, the album and its follow-up, If He Dies, If, If, If, If, If, If, are unbound by borders, marrying traditional instruments to contemporary electronics and distinctly raw production. In Moumneh's hands the buzz and scrape of the bazuk and the drone of a synthesizer aren't far removed, despite the centuries and continents that stand between them; they're just different tools in his efforts to create “contemporary Arabic music.” Moumneh may have come around on recording, but Jerusalem In My Heart is still at its best live. An accomplished and uncompromising artist, Moumneh gives his songs space to grow and transform. Even if the language of the lyrics eludes you, there's no escaping the power of his performance.