The Third Planet,
The Third Planet
(World Class Records, 2000)

The Third Planet is a multicultural band representing Italy, Algeria, Iraq and India. Two of their members, Maurizio Dami and Paolo Casu, are from Florence, Italy. Dami plays keyboards and Casu plays various ethnic drums. Their lead singer, Nazar, is from the Kurdistani region of Iraq. He also plays the guitar-like saaz. Smail Kouider Aissa, from Algeria, sings and is also a keyboardist. Rashmi V. Bhatt, from India, plays the tabla (Indian drum).

Their music seamlessly combines each of their heritages and adds a few more traditions besides. Lying behind their sound is the philosophy that disparate peoples have always, thoughout history, influenced each other's musical styles.

The Third Planet is their self-titled debut. It includes nine tracks written by Dami, Nazar and Aissa, and three Kurdistani tracks by Dami and Nazar.

The songs are all upbeat, with rhythms that are hard to resist. None of the songs are sung in English, so it's rather difficult to say what they might be singing about, but when you're dancing around the living room, who really cares? The ninth track, "The Rhythmic Experience," consisting mainly of drumming, makes me think of belly dancers' hips shimmying in time to the drums as they stamp their feet and swirl around the dusty square of some desert city.

The Third Planet mixes the modern and ancient, resulting in a CD that will make you want to get up and move.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

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