NEeMA Live: Leave the Light On

NEeMA Live: Leave the Light On
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NEeMA is very much of this world. The Canadian born Egyptian-Lebanese singer, songwriter, and storyteller is well traveled and clearly passionate about people. She spent time with the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, she lived and worked with the Tribal Elders of Wekweeti, a First Nations community in the Northwest Territories and she lived in Egypt, where she studied classical music. Leave the Light On is a collection of songs recorded during a 2011 European tour, plus a stop in Montreal.

The 12 songs on this record, some new and some borrowed from her two studio albums Watching You Think (2010) and Masi Cho (2007), are observational reflections on love, life and striving in the vein of a Leonard Cohen-Sharon Robinson collaboration, minus the poet-laureate co-singer who she otherwise considers a mentor and friend.

The full band tour included stops in 13 countries, and the tracks from France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, England, Belgium, Ireland, and Canada that made it onto this record demonstrate a heart-on-sleeve artist at ease with herself and, more impressive yet, with multiple languages.

The open-air, live atmosphere adds something to these songs that might otherwise be lacking on a studio version of the same set. This is pack-your-lawn-chairs-bring-the-kids (they might actually learn something) music. And hey, sometimes that's just what you need. (Independent)