On the compelling fusion album Kalashnik Love, Algerian oud-player Mehdi Haddab guides his new trio, Speed Caravan, through a rock'n'roll reworking of the classics. Armed with an electric version of the Arab lute, Mehdi plays his own original compositions and covers of hits including The Cure's Killing an Arab, transcending all notions of time, space and musical genre
Those who are familiar with Mehdi Haddab's eclectic track record to date will not bat an eyelid at the mention of his new project, Speed Caravan - although fans of the oud (the pear-shaped, stringed instrument used in Middle Eastern music and considered by many to be the predecessor of the western lute) may be a little more bemused. Mehdi Haddab, a musician renowned on the French music scene for his pioneering work with a number of fusion projects, has now ventured out in a new direction, forming a "contemporary musical caravan" with bassist Pascal Teillet and electro musician Hermione Frank. The three create a magic triangle of sound, infused with rock energy and electro trance, and Mehdi's virtuoso acrobatics on the electric oud take the instrument way beyond its classical image.