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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Palm World Voices: Spirit
Palm World Voices: Spirit
Palm Pictures // Unrated // July 18, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 11, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In recent years, record companies have gotten a lot of extra traffic out of the inclusion of DVDs (live performances, videos, etc.) with the latest CDs from many artists. Palm Home Entertainment has taken the idea a couple of steps further: with their new "Palm: World Voices" series, viewers are presented with a DVD, CD, booklet and map. Currently, there are several releases in the series, including: "Brazil", "Africa" and "Mandela". While "Mandela"'s DVD presentation is documentary on the subject, "Spirit" is more a visual tour - in this case, of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Throughout the hour-long documentary, music from various artists play while we are shown different clips taken from around the region. For example, during one song, we are shown Essaouria (formerly Mogador), which was discovered in the 7th century BC. It's now a working port supporting over 500 families. Other clips visit Morocco, Marrakech, Fez and areas in Jordan.

These clips are beautifully filmed, but the DVD misses out on an opportunity by not providing any sort of background information along with the clips, aside from what the book provides and the basic descriptions (just the location) that the case provides. A subtitle track could have provided further details and been optional for those who would rather just focus on the images and music.

The large, 48-page color booklet does provide some general information on the history of the region and a handful of additional photographs from the area. Just as enjoyable is the large (20x30) National Geographic map that offers additional history and details on different points of interest.

Track Listing: Bel Canto - Buthania
Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz - Desert Equations
Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors - The Calling
Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses - Anima
Jamshied Sharifi - Anahita Will Sustain You
Erkan Ogur - Çayin Öte Yüzünde
Anouar Brahem - Conte De L'incroyable Amour
Omar Faruk Tekbilek - Long Wait
Pre Fade Listening Ras Dashan
Tuu - All Our Ancestors
Tinariwen - Assoul

The DVD

VIDEO: The DVD presentation from Palm Pictures is in 1.33:1 full-frame. The presentation quality is satisfying, but not particularly noteworthy in any way. Sharpness and detail vary, although the majority of the presentation looks a tad soft. Some minor grain, shimmering and a couple of instances of artifacting were spotted. Colors looked very nice, appearing rich and warm, with nice saturation and no smearing.

SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was fairly low-key, with the surrounds providing mild reinforcement for the music. Despite the lack of surround involvement, the sound mix remained appropriate and enjoyable, with fine audio quality.

EXTRAS: The book, CD and map.

Final Thoughts: Fans of this genre of music will enjoy the CD and DVD offered here, but while the map and booklet provide some educational information about the region, I'm surprised the DVD didn't take the opportunity to include more info in either a subtitle track or additional featurette.
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