Four star review in national newspaper for Hela Hela

November 18th, 2010

**** (click to see original review in dutch)

NO blues Hela Hela

NO blues was founded five years ago to investigate the possibilities of combining the traditional American folk blues with Arabic music, which resulted in a new genre called Arabicana. With this fourth CD the trip around the world comes to an end for singer-guitarist Ad van Meurs, singer-bassist Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen and the Palestinian singer-U’d player Haytham Safia. But not without picking up some African influences on the road, provided by Sudanese Osama Maleegi again on percussion and this time  also U’d. Violin player Morad Koury adds even more virtuoso strings, and the vocals of Shereene Danial joins those of permanent collaborator Ankie Keultjes. In most cases, the symbiosis between the genres is perfectly natural, with Empty Bottle as a strong example. Especially the way Safia’s sparkling U’d playing is a joy to the ear. Lyrically, it is often rather stereotypical country and blues: long-legged women, booze, infidelity and death, but Van Meurs convinces as singer and guitarist, the latter especially with the slide. And the sound is beautiful and unique, all you could wish for is more experimenting with strange measures, such as on Farah.

Ranking: 4 out of 5 stars

Volkskrant: Frank van Herk