Yalil | EW.com

Music

Yalil On this 1988 set — finally being made available to American audiences — the Paris-based Tunisian singer-actress Amina Annabi carves out...YalilWorld On this 1988 set — finally being made available to American audiences — the Paris-based Tunisian singer-actress Amina Annabi carves out...1991-02-22
B+

Yalil

Genre: World; Lead Performer: Amina

On this 1988 set — finally being made available to American audiences — the Paris-based Tunisian singer-actress Amina Annabi carves out an interesting niche: Madonna as belly dancer. Produced by the singer’s husband, Martin Meissonnier (and with French and Arabic lyrics by her mother), Yalil entwines Amina’s dark, supple voice around thick, somewhat slick grooves of exotic Europop. How eclectic is this? Well, the ”Macon Mix” of Amina’s Continental club hit ”Belly Dance” samples the horn riff from James Brown’s ”Cold Sweat,” and ”Le Circle Rouge” sounds like one of those breathy, confessional French records from the early ’60s retooled as a sultry Algerian rai song. Amina — who can currently be seen seducing John Malkovich in The Sheltering Sky — is at her best on slower tunes, though, and cuts like the moody ”Neila” or the beautiful, radio-ready ”Gallouli” work as make-out music of an unusually high order. When Yalil clicks — and it does most of the time — it’s like watching a lavish foreign film that doesn’t have much to say but has a gorgeous way of saying it. B+