I first heard Palestinian singer Reem Kelani with Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon's band Orient Express. Listening to these two musicians from conflicting countries sharing the same stage was an unforgettable experience. A spine-tingling charge came from the extraordinary power and emotional intensity of Kelani's voice backed by Atzmon's equally inspiring sax playing. It was also inevitable that two such focused musicians would not be able to occupy the same bandstand for long. They might share the same political outlook but have their own musical paths to follow.

Reem Kelani, who has been performing both in Europe and the Middle East for many years, had worked out the exact content of the album Sprinting Gazelle (Fuse Records, CFCD048) long before the opportunity came to actually make the recording, and it is a credit to her determination that these songs are now available. From the very first track, in which Kelani sings almost unaccompanied, the exceptional quality of her voice and the vigour of her performance comes through as powerfully as it did on stage. All we miss are her wonderfully dramatic gestures.

In the ten tracks there is a mix of traditional Palestinian songs that Kelani has learnt and poetry that she has put to music, using traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation, plus, on many tracks, the impeccable bass playing of Oly Hayhurst. The result is a journey through a musical landscape filled with eastern rhythms, melodies and vocal inflections, all of which is given a whole extra dimension by the sheer power and beauty of Kelani's voice. The album also includes full and informative notes on the origins of the songs and their English translations. The music is imbued with the dry heat of the Middle East and the power of love, longing and loss. If you want to be shaken out of your daily existence play this with an open mind on a damp British day or any day.