I first heard “The Gulf of Araby” on Natalie Merchant’s live album in 2000, and was immediately struck by the sadness and poetry of Keineg’s song. It’s epic in its scope, unlike pretty much every song you’ll hear this year. When I moved back to the US in 2001, I immediately bought all of her albums and listened to them, like any new albums back then, for a couple weeks before setting them aside for a while. A while turned into yearsâ€”until my friend Darcy wrote a cover story about Keineg for the New York Times Magazine in 2006. She was finally getting the recognition she had so long deserved, I thought at the time. But the next year NPR ran a story titled, “A Long Career on the Brink of Fame.” The popularity for which she seemed destined, especially after the Times profile, never arrived. But that’s her potential audience’s shortcoming, not hers.
Katell Keineg’s official website