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Review: The Habibi Kings at Pangea

- Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal


This ongoing series of summer Tuesdays reflects the split personality of pianist Michael Garin: his trio, the Habibi Kings, costars two Middle Eastern instrumental virtuosos, Samir Shukry (violin, oud, vocals) and Ossama Farouk (dumbek, percussion), and specializes in the music of Israel, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and the various Arabian nations. Yet Mr. Garin also performs equally animated interpretations of American standards and show tunes with his perky partner Mardie Millit (the twosome have a swell new album, “Hey Look! It’s Michael and Mardie”). With such a fertile brain as Mr. Garin’s and such resources at hand, mashups are inevitable, such as “It’s Diwali,” which transforms a Cole Porter classic into a Hindu holiday."

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