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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Water From An Ancient Well

Abdullah Ibrahim

1986

Wikipedia

Water From An Ancient Well

Rating

2.97

Votes

2994

Reviews

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5

Gorgeous, sensitive, buttery smooth jazz. Wonderful. Like sinking into a warm, comfy mattress.

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4

On one of my first visit to Cape Town I was having a drink with  a black man who was a local. He pointed at a person with brown skin across the room and, said ¨the coloured guy over there is a good friend.¨ He was incredulous when I told him that in my country the term ¨coloured¨ was a derogatory term for a black man. He informed me that  under the Apartheid regime,  people were segregated into Blacks, Whites (mainly Afrikaans) and Coloureds (which were everyone else). Those terms are still used to describe people but are not considered racist and the severe ramifications of being in one group or the other are no longer proscribed by the government. Abdullah Ibrahim would have been a coloured person.  The Wiki notes for this one are quite limited. As one can tell from the names of some of the songs, there is a political side to this. The song Mandela is an obvious one given he was sitting in Robben Island at the time this was released. Mannenberg Revisited  was a well known and highly political song. I read that a copy of the record was snuck onto Robben Island and when Nelson Mandela heard it he remarked that ¨liberation is near¨.  Mannenberg is about the forced removal of those defined as coloured people from a downtown neighbourhood to the suburbs of Cape Town. What boggles the mind is that these songs effectively conveyed the message of protest and uprising  without lyrics.  Song for Sathima is about his wife Sathima Bea Benjamin  If you're interested, Spotify has a wonderful EP called African Songbird with three  of her tunes including Africa which is an avant garde jazz sung with love for her  Africa.

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4

The music that plays when you get kicked out of a cantina.

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4

Awfully good and easy-swinging. Highly polished in composition and tone and execution. There’s real elegance in the straightforwardness and simplicity of the playing and a richness and warmth from the large format. Just strong all the way around. Solid 4.

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2

Started good, then solemn, then next track sounds like the menu music or first level music from a child's video game 😂 kinda decent though, enjoyable at least.

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2

Having just listened to Time out by the Dave Brubeck quartet i felt that the 30 years that separated the two albums hadn’t been kind to Jazz. It didn’t flow well for me, the transition from one track to another was too harsh at times. The tracks I enjoyed Mandela - quite punchy and upbeat, it’s gets the album off to a good start. Manenberg revisited- starts slow and builds up, whilst it’s quite repetitive it allows you to follow the beat and relax into it. Tuang guru - reminded me of the backing music to a 1950’s black and white cop film The ones I didn’t Sameeda- too “all over the place” with its beat, just couldn’t relax with it. There’s a couple of tracks I would listen to again, but not the whole album

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5

Enjoyed this album a lot. Players are all amazing, so much to hear and discover. Will definitely listen to a few more times at least

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5

Loved it!

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5

Some lovely Jazz! Going into my library.

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5

Nice smooth swinging jazz. My type to listen too.

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5

Ahhh que bonito es lo vi ito

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5

Great album - caught me by surprise. Has a timeless quality, many of the tracks harken back to roots in the 50s or 60s. Definitely a keeper!

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4

wowowowww. 7 artists!! “Song for Sathima” was genuinely so relaxing and romantic. nice groovy bass :D

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4

i am surprised at how much i like this. the mellow saxophone and cool jazz vibe make it easy to appreciate and enjoy. it doesn't quite maintain that epic feel for the whole duration, but really solid.

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4

Nice change of pace from the first two listens this week. Easy jazz, and would definitely listen again. 4 stars.

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4

Very sweet and mellow. Easy listening.

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4

Jazz. Nice.

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4

Super Sound from the coolest of African Jazz Cats! Love it

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4

Some nice smooth jazz. Again not my style but I couldn't complain about this one and it gets a positive mark.

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4

saffa jazz, super chill, loved it

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4

Had no clue what to expect - loved the jazzy vibe of this album

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4

Nice jazzy stuff

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4

Well this was quite pleasant! Very soothing. I enjoyed it. Very lyrical music which I enjoyed.

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4

Enjoyably jazzy

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4

Kaunista ja kuulasta jazzia. Erityisesti avausbiisi ja nimikkokappale (joka puuttu Spotifysta, prkl) oli hyviä. 4/5

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4

Huh, avausraita oli turhan iloinen "rallattelu", mutta sen jälkeen mukavaa kaunista jazzia. Nimikkobiisi olikin sitten ihan mieletön enkä oikeastaan tiedä, oonko kuullut parempaa jazz-tallennetta. Vangitsi meikän täysin. Sääli, että juuri se puuttui spotifysta (ja applelta). Suurin osa levystä ehkä 3/5, mutta pakko nostaa neloseen jo nimikkobiisin takia. Ja oli siellä pari muutakin nelosen ansaitsevaa hetkeä.

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4

Mitä jazziin tulee, on kasari must ollu aika synkkää fuusiohelvetin aikaa. Tämä taas ei sitä oo, vaan flirttailee aika häikäilemättömästi kuuskytluvun NY-soundin kanssa. Siitähän minä tietty diggaan! 4/5

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4

Nice! Love jazz, this is classic.

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4

Nice chill out music, liked the title track especially.

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4

Great band & music that Ive discovered because 1001 album generator. Thanks.

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4

Þessi er ljómandi, renndi henni tvisvar og gæti hlustað oft aftur. Ekkert lag sem stendur mest upp úr, alveg solid stöff.

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4

What it feels like to step into a warm bath.

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3

I lack the knowledge and intelligence to articulate how I feel about different jazz albums. But I liked this

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3

UNAVAILABLE. 3 EVEN RATING

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3

Jazz, en goede ook!

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3

Relaxed jazz sounds Perfect to chill with 3.5/5

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3

Super calm and super chill jazz album. Sounds like its straight out of the early 60s. Not much else to say tbh.

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3

I wouldn't have thought a song titled 'Mandela' would be so jaunty, given the situation in South Africa in 1985, when this was released. That aside, I enjoyed this album. Really accessible and listenable jazz. Nice to listen to in a bar or over dinner.

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3

Mandela doesn't sound like anyone is playing in the same time. the downbeats are all mixed up. Song For Sathima is alright! Water From An Ancient Well is the axis about which the entire album turns. the ultimate chill and jazz album. Sameeda is a weird closer. I like it but man it is weird in the context of the entire rest of the album.

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3

Nice jazz!

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3

det här var ändå rätt så gött

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3

Surprisingly enjoyed whilst working away in the office. Still can't see me sticking this on again like most other Jazz.

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3

So smooth. So soft. Sameeda has a killer solo.

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3

3.1 - I saw the album cover and was totally expecting world music with some chanting (groan). Instead I got easy jazz. Now I'm not sure which I would've preferred. It's definitely sweet and soulful. It sounds like the Saturday Night Live band if they kept jamming on that final farewell song while the audience files out, leaving them to play to an empty studio.

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3

jazzzzz, lækkert klaver, rimelig smooth, afslappende

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3

Tissemandsjazz. Godt og sådan. Havde forventet lidt mere spice.

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3

Nogen af titlerne lyder som noget man selv kunne have givet sangene, i en hashkoger, ud fra hvordan de lyder. Men god stemning, dog lidt uklart hvor vi sal hen.

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3

I found this to be a very accessible album. You don't need to be a Jazz aficionado to enjoy this. It's an easy listen.

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3

Too happy and “chill”

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3

This was a pleasant surprise.

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3

Los albums de jazz me suenan igual

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3

first 30 sec of no1 song sound exactly like some polish song

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3

6/10

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3

Nice sound. The title track is missing from Spotify and Apple Music. It got a bit long at the end

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3

Surprisingly bland and background music. Might need repeat listening

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3

I’ve listened to some of Ibrahim’s more piano-based stuff in the past and liked it. The septet works for me. It’s good to hear trombones and baritone sax for a change. Often, bands like to give every soloist a chance to play in every song but that makes for very long songs, so I'm glad he didn't take that approach. The opening track has a bit of a Nawlins’, marchy feel to it and didn’t really catch my interest until the solos kicked in. The overall mood changes enough (which is impressive since one guy penned all the tunes) throughout the LP. I read that the Mannenberg Revisited track was an anti-apartheid anthem. In my opinion it’s not one of the strongest tracks on the LP. Along with track #7, it is a bit jazz-poppy for me.

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3

-Generally nice jazz but just nothing exciting really happening. "Tuang Guru" had a little bit of groove to it but just overall plain.

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3

Pretty enjoyable, even if the title track isn't on the Spotify version

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3

Bit of fun ennit. Bit much in places but all good

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3

Don't really know much jazz. But this was overall a nice listen, more background music for me than active listening. Liked "Mandela" and "The Wedding" the most.

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3

Partijtje lekkere jazz met wat afrikaanse invloeden soms

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3

I think I need to plead jazz ignorance again on this one. I listened to it happily enough but nothing struck me that forcefully. More Google Music nonsense with the whole album available except for the title track. I listened to a couple live versions to make up the experience but seriously what is that.

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3

This is not what I was expecting from title, artist name, or album cover! I guess that one's on me. I wish there was more back story available on the Wiki, as that's one of the best bits about an undiscovered album for me. I assume the original book that lists these albums has descriptions. I'm sure that there's some political motivation behind this album. Anywho... this was a nice jazz album, but jazz isn't really my thing so I can't comment too much. My top pick is 'Song for Sathima', where the tenor sax (I believe) really shines. Beautiful!

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3

Smooth jazz. It was so smooth but I'm not smooth enough to enjoy it.

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3

Was pretty good. Not really my kind of thing, but did enjoy. A nice bit of smooth jazz for background while working.

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3

Nice, classic, jazz

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3

This was a new one on me. Jazz is still mysterious to me, but I did quite enjoy this.

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3

Ihan hyvää jatsia. En kuitenkaan osaa mun plebikorvilla sanoa että onks tässä muuta erityistä kun että se ei oo julkastu 50-luvulla. Mutta voisin kuunnella uudestaan.

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3

Alright jazz, wasn't bad wasn't great. Maybe it was Water from an Ancient well but it wasn't spectacular. You know, maybe it actually tasted a bit like old water.

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3

Onvervalste Jazz; Het is niet zo mijn ding, maar dit album kan ik heel goed hebben. Als ik veel filmpjes over de natuur zou maken, zou dit perfecte achtergrondmuziek zijn. Dit alles in een taal die we allemaal spreken: instrumentaal. ***

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3

This was a chill jazz album. Might listen to it again when in the mood for this sound.

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3

It is very nice. 3/5

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3

Ok jazz

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3

I’m sure that jazz-wise this is really good. Even for me, someone who does not get jazz, it wasn’t bad. Some songs I liked (much) better than others. I would much rather enjoy this music live where I can see the musicians playing and get in the atmosphere, it’s just not the same a as a layman to just listen.

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3

This was nice enough jazz, nothing I'd ever listen to again and sounded really dated for 1986, but can't say anything bad about it. Didn't suck, didn't go for an hour and a half, etc. 3/5.

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3

3/5

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3

Toques de jazz y de música clásica. Fácil de escuchar. Agradable.

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3

More interesting jazz than what I was expecting. World influences unlike the usual trios/quartets I typically associate with jazz.

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3

mix between general jazz and a soundtrack that would fit a movie with a nice landscape

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3

I always appreciate jazz more when a brass horn is involved. In this case, the tracks featuring the trombone were on point. There just weren't enough of them to make me get excited about the entire album. Best track: Sameeda

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2

Sweet it’s jazz

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2

It's really my failing that I can not fully appreciate each of the components that artistically create a great jazz album.

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2

4.5

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2

2.5

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2

I don’t know much jazz but every-time I listen to any I find it very calming. I might revisit this album and artist

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2

compilation album cringe

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2

While I enjoy jazzy rock, pure instrumental jazz simply doesn't manage to catch and hold my attention well. The music is well executed, but never rises above the level of background music. At times pleasant background music, but more often than not, it feels like the tracks just sort of drone on, going off on all sorts of tangents along the way, but never really going anywhere specific.

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2

A South African jazz album released in 1986. Super chill and jazzy vibes to complement my morning work. I don't go out of my way to listen to jazz, but I can easily appreciate the music.

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2

H20 so bland

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2

The best jazz we’ve had yet (which isn’t saying much).

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2

udmærket jazzzzz

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2

Very "nice" conventional 80s/90s jazz. Pretty, and not to say boring, but not terribly attention-grabbing. Interchangeable with 101 other very good, but not very unique jazz albums, so... not what I'd hope for from this list.

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2

Was expecting some world folk music, not a soft jazz collection. I don’t quite understand the theme of this album. Individually, there is not a bad track, but together, it is disjointed.

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2

Easy listening that still slaps.

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2

this was a tepid listen, easy listening pop jazz is not my jam.

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2

I accidentally started off by listening to the wrong album by Ibrahim by mistake and I enjoyed that other album way more haha so that put us off to a bad start. The feeling I got from this was that I was in a 00s chick flick at a posh wedding or garden party being offered a tray of canapes. Each song didn't contain any surprises they were very one-note and I don't find that very exciting. Meh - was waiting for the African and Indian influences I was promised and I didn't catch them (my fault but that was disappointing)

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2

world jazz hmmm

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2

With this album, there is nothing great about it but conversely, there is nothing terrible either. As individual songs, they are not bad, chill jazz, background music basically. Here lies the problem, the songs combined into an album have no coherence. They are all just background cafe jazz. There are no standout tracks. As songs, I would give 3 stars, but as an album, it is lacking...

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2

It was a jazz album. I don't know a lot about jazz but it didn't seem remarkable. The wiki had zero info so I'm guessing there's no real story behind this album.

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2

Pleasant enough but meh

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1

If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Abdullah Ibrahim. Don't know much about jazz so I can't really review it. Would I re-listen? Nope. 🌟

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1

I don't like jazz

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1

Ha... I brim with hope that I would one day endure an instrumental jazz album. Today is not that day

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1

not my jam

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1

Cant give 0 stars so 1 it is. Didnt finish it as I cant stand Jazz and skipped though the tracks to see if there way something I could listen the whole way through, alas no.

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1

Murder

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1

Straight, middle of the road Jazz. Not for me at all.

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1

Not sure how this achieved Classic status. It is entirely forgettable. I was hoping for the south African jazz equivalent of Graceland. But there is not a whisper of Africa to my ears. Cover art 2/5 nice colours

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1

The score to a looney tunes cartoon when nothing is happening.

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