As I spent Chinese New Year’s Eve in the company of a friend and watched in amazement as to how empty my part of town was, I decided to call it a night and spent a bit of time enjoying some music. This was the first result of a healthy list of music I indulged in. This was my first exposure to the Abdel Karim Ensemble. I’m looking forward to finding more albums, as they play great traditional music from Syria, Egypt, Morocco and pre-Reconquista Spain. Magnificent listening.
[Music] Abd al-Rahman al-Khamissi – عبد الرحمن الخميسي – Music from the Soundtrack “Respectable Families”
Welcome to the world of easy (cheesy) listening out of… Cairo?! Yes!! According to the bio over at his Bandcamp page, “Abd al-Rahman El Khamissi (bio in Arabic only) is an Egyptian poet, writer, journalist, dramatist, radio producer, film director, composer and talent scout for famous Egyptian actors such as Soad Hosni. He has been seen as a great romanticist and one of the finest Egyptian poets. Khamissi’s versatile talents as an artist and story teller portrayed in many ways the aspirations of Egyptian society.”
There is an elegance in this release mixing tango, the aforementioned easy listening and the better elements of soundtrack music. Many thanks to the folks at Radio Martiko who selflessly dedicated their efforts into releasing this gem.
[Music] Soliman Gamil – A Map of Egypt Before the Sands
It’s for albums like this that I have such a love of Bandcamp. This release originally came out in 1997, and was a collection of pieces of Soliman Gamil’s other records for the Touch Label. Though they would have made lovely soundtrack music, it’s more an exploration of and experimentation with Egyptian classical music. A well-done reissue by Mike Harding and Touch.
[Music] Nadah El Shazly – Ahwar
Singer and composer Nadah El Shazly apparently began her career in a punk rock band doing Misfits covers. She’s come a long way, creating an eerie work with references to experimental music and musique concrète, with a nod to French composers of the INA-GRM tradition.
If I recall correctly, if was my friend and colleague C-Drik who brought her name to my attention. I am indebted to him.
[Music] Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band – Egyptian Jazz
What a magnificent find! Salah Ragab is the father of Egyptian Jazz. He produces a sound that blends the best elements of the venerable genre, as well as bits of Latin, soundtrack, and even cha-cha-cha in his concoction.
[Music] Joseph Tawadros – The Hour of Separation (2010)
Joseph Tawadros is an Australian oud virtuoso of Coptic heritage. This album comes from 2010, and is an instrumental masterpiece.