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fi layla, one night

“i was born by a river, love child of a moon and an oak tree. a thousand times at night i crossed the river sailing from bank to bank, my cargo of heavy boulders watched by the old man. at dawn we would reach the city of oblivion and silent men would unload and carry the stones away.

then one night the old man brought you on board, you were sleeping.”

                                                                                  from fi layla’s first song: “na iman” (sleeping).

“na iman” and the five other songs that follow sprang from the image of a boat carrying boulders guarded by an old man and a young child that sails with them and eventually grows up to learn the secret language and destinies of stones.

“man anta” (who you are) follows with the river waters welcoming the young boy and saying they knew who he was, the wind had already whispered his story to the reeds.

comes “sadrika” (your chest) with the vivacious young man telling his old master he grew literally against his chest, sharing his bread, water, joy and sadness. on to “nujum” (stars) and the stones telling the stories of stars, sea, desert and mountain, king and beggar, deer and butterfly, man and his illusions. onto “ahlam”(dreams) dreams of spring, night and love, smiles and tears... all forgotten in the city of oblivion; will we ever meet them wandering there?

finally “fi layla” (one night) where one dreams of a dove flying high in space and calling your name.

i met with andres valdes in london in 2008 at the end of one of his tours in the united kingdom.

we built together the basic structure of the songs based on the arabic lyrics i had written and discussed their musical arrangements before andres went back to cuba to develop the songs.

a year later fi layla was born, recorded in havana under the supervision of georges barbar and

the musical direction of andres valdes. i recorded my final vocals a few weeks later in los angeles where we mixed and mastered the project by june of 2009 under the supervision of danny naim and gavin lursen.                                                                                                                   


the musicians

the songs

na iman

man anta




fi layla

fi layla songs excerpts

andres valdes on guitar, michel salazar on bass, delvis ponce saxophone, william roblejo violin

carlos estévez drums and percussion, georges barbar on percussion and kamal kozah vocals


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