(2011 Jade / Milan / Universal)

Souffle d’Or
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“SoundRoots Top 20 Global Albums of 2011”
~ Scott Allan Stevens, 2011

“Nawal continues to dazzle us with her Sufi-inspired collection of songs… Nawal knows how to entertain our spirit and grace our presence with her divine musical prowess”
~ M. Forss 2011

“Singer/songwriter Nawal is like an orchestra in and of herself… with instruments more original than others. The whole album is filled with wisdom and humanity, where every song is an invitation to voyage.”
~ Iza M’madi, 2011

“On Embrace the Spirit, Nawal delivers a powerful one-woman meditation that salutes the recent uprisings in the Middle East and the human desire for freedom and peace.”
~ PM, Chicago Reader, USA, 2011

“An embrace for the whole human race. The whole CD, in fact, seems designed to transport mind and soul to places beyond the material world. It gets you there with varying doses of rhythm, melody, wide open space and, most importantly, the lulling but strong voice of a singer the entire world would do well to pay attention to.”
~ Tom Orr, 2011

“Intimate, poetic and powerful… Nawal, artist originally from the Comoros Islands, continues her musical and humanist ways…”


(2007 Nawali Productions)

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{ AMAN }


NEW YORK TIMES “A Big, Wide World of Music”
“One of the most notable world music CDs released over the last year…”
~ Jon Pareles

“…downright gorgeous music…a record that’s going to become a long-term favourite”
 Ian Anderson, October 07
The track “Kweli II” from Aman was featured on the fROOTS CD compilation accompanying the issue “Best of 2007” January 07

“Songs of charm and power”
~ CD Review by Steve Heilig August 07

“Top 10 World Music CD” August 07
A gorgeous 12-song collection
~ Derek Beres, October 07

“A self-styled vocalist, composer and string player (guitar and the long-necked lute called gambusi), Nawal hails from Comoros, an Island nation in the Indian Ocean.  She has a silver-in-the-rough voice that conveys wisdom and experience,  and her music is an unorthodox blend of Comoros tradition, Sufi spirituality, and more…. Nawal is a modern original with deep respect for the past, and passionate, though never naïve, hope for the future.”
~ Banning Eyre, 6/11/07

LA WEEKLY -“Whirled Music”
“On ‘Aman’, her new tour de force, the nearby African rhythms – that kalimba, and the drumming and call-and-response – mix with Malagasy melodicism and tunings and the complexities of Arabic and Indian musical traditions…. The variety of songwriting and styles, that mix of sweet melody and energetic rhythms, reminds one a bit of much of Brazil’s best – the variety of Caetano Veloso, of Gilberto Gil at his rootsy finest… The long tendrils of Islam are never far off, and Sufism suffuses the entire project … and in long Sufi trance passages that must be remarkable in person. (Her live shows reportedly are even better than the album.) And dig Idriss Mlanao’s jazzy bass lines – it’s what jazz fans can grab onto as we listen, soaking in all the exoticism of the rest.”
~ Brick Wahl, 05/30/07

” Aman has a mesmeric slow burn, combining the African and Islamic influences of the archipelago… “Meditation”, almost too pretty for its own good…”
~ David Honigmann 06/09/07

BOSTON GLOBE – “Nawal’s musical journey to liberation” 
“Her music takes as its point of departure traditional Comorian sounds, which resonate with Arabic and African influences accumulated over centuries through the Indian Ocean trade… But if its predominant component is Comorian roots, “Aman” deviates in many ways, each one offering a glimpse of this woman’s unusual journey from a highly conservative family in a highly conservative nation to the liberated spirit that she has become.”
~ Siddhartha Mitter, 6/22/07

BOSTON HERALD “For Nawal, past is ever-present”
“From adversity, the saying goes, comes strength – and also, in the case of singer and guitarist Nawal, inspiration for a life of music… Her new CD, Aman, has a delicate, often spiritual beauty to it.” 
~ Bob Young, 06/24/07

Overall, the mood is restful and floats along with hints of Malagache music, anchoring it a bit closer to Africa than India. But there are Arabic influences too. The mbira reminds me of Stella Chiweshe’s trance grooves, but the contrabass and finger-cymbals add layers that make it even dreamier. One definite plus is the sound quality…   The long trance number “Ode a Maarouf,” in honour of her great-grandfather, a famous Sufi marabout of Comoros, is outstanding. “ 06/01/07

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SPINNER “Think You’ve Heard It All? Check Out Nawal”
In the concert, she gave the music even more warmth and intimacy, weaving her musical threads with her own fine touch on nylon-string guitar and gambusi, a rough-hewn stringed instrument carved from one piece of wood and stretched with goatskin. As on the new album, she had colorfully intuitive accompaniment from her brother Idriss Mlanao on double bass and San Francisco musician Melissa Cara Rigoli on a variety of percussion including African calabash gourd, Indian clay pot, mbira (thumb piano) and bells.”
– Steve Hochman 6/12/07

“Aman transiates to “peace of the soul,” so the title is an apt description of this album of Sufi chants and spiritual roots music… Her music mixes strong African rhythms with the airy acoustics of the Middle East, resulting in trancelike compositions that take you away from the worries of the world.”
~ Glenn Whipp 6/1/07 

“…I have a thing for tiny African islands in the Indian Ocean and the amazing vocalists to be found there. Nawal is no exception. She’s a sufi Muslim female vocalist originally from the Comoros islands with a great voice and a mean gambusi, a yemeni instrument that’s sort of like an oud.”
~ Matt Yanchyshyn  5/30/07 

“Nawal’s upcoming second release is a beautifully textured synthesis of an Afro-Sufi heritage with a wide range of instrumentation. In the middle of all this, her voice is a lesson in meditation.”
~ Derek Beres 5/16/07

“The deep rich voice of Nawal herself–a voice with enough humor, power and allure to provoke reconsideration of what it means to be a woman–is the one ever-renewing contant.”
~ Traci Hukill, 8/01/07

“There are few singers I know that connect so deeply with their audiences on personal, spiritual and cross cultural grounds as Nawal. She is truly an ambassador for the healing power of music to bring peace and reconciliation between cultures that so regularly misunderstand one another.”
~ Thomas R. Simpson, Artistic Director



(2001 Mélodie / 2005 Nawal)

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GLOBAL RHYTHM Magazine, “Kweli” CD Review 
” Bridging traditional acoustic instrumentation with soulful yearning, it is Nawal’s mostly-French-but-who-cares-what-language-it-is-vocals that tear in and grip onto that space, the one only music can find inside us… Nawal proves herself nothing short of a legend in the making.”
~ Jill Ettinger 06/27/06 


“[Nawal’s] concert last Thursday brought a diverse and varied public, and in the eyes of some was “one of the most remarkable shows of the year”. There is no doubt that she carries the dignity of an confirmed artist, a multi-instrumentalist who is ranked among the great names in world music.”
~ G.M19 Déc 06 (concert review of show at Koropa Club, Mayotte)

“Deceptively sweet at first listen, Nawal’s subtle grittiness and deep-blue determination accrete into an engagingly exquisite mode of truth-telling.”

~  Tom Cheyney

“From her opening vocal solo, it was clear that Nawal’s roots lie in Muslim Africa. Her trio…fed off the audience’s energy and produced an evening of sparse but rich music, often with a spiritual, trance-like vibe.You don’t often get that much spirit on a Monday night, and it’s got to be culturally healing to have Americans chanting in Arabic about peace.”
~ Scott Stevens, (DJ KAOS FM) Dec 2005

AFROPOP Magazine
“The album (Kweli) makes an impressive international debut. Nawal may be new to us, but this kind of maturity and integrity was clearly many years in the making.”
Banning Eyre, Dec 2005 

CDBABY Review  of “Kweli
“Bridging and balancing traditional styles with modern movements, Nawal’s music elegantly dances between cultures, reflecting the diverse musical colors of her native Comoros Islands. In a mesmerizing Indo-Arabian-Persian fusion, her music encompasses Bantu polyphonies, intoxicating, tightly-woven rhythms and Sufi trance of the Indian Ocean. Her style and personality brings to mind such diverse artists as Zap Mama to Cesaria Evora but she cultivates a highly distinctive sound that embraces hints of pop along with the acoustic ringing of traditional instruments. Singing in Comoran, Arabic, French and English, this multi-talented artist raises the bar of quality while reclaiming the idea of a true, world community through music.