Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

 |   |  <1 min read

Hossam Ramzy/Samy El Bably: Waheshny
Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Elsewhere listeners know it is unwise to judge an album -- especially a world music album, and most particularly a bellydance album -- by its cover.

Beneath the bejewelled, bikini-top breasts on this unpromising looking album are the two key features: the names of Ramzy and El Bably.

Ramzy is a prolific writer (over 20 albums for the Arc label alone, most in equally unpromising covers!), percussion player and global citizen who has played not only traditional music from various regions of the Middle East but also Western jazz, and been a guest on albums by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Cheb Khaled, Rachid Taha, Peter Gabriel . . .

El Bably, who was recently killed in car crash in Egypt, was a legendary trumpeter whose sound is best described as woozy, heavy-lidded, sinuous and warm.

Together these two masters essay a mesmerising crossover between jazz, Egyptian bellydance, cool Parisian nightclub and hot Mediterranean cafe.

They fall foul of a little softness in the funk-lite of Kol El Aalam (although El Bably rises above the George Benson-styled acoustic guitar) and with a large ensemble (oud, accordion, zither and so on as well as sequencers and electric bass) they make music which will transport you somewhere -- if not make you want to get up and shake your belly.

And the closer is a 15-minute improvised tour-de-force. Stunning.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED (2014): The exciting sound of dissent

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED (2014): The exciting sound of dissent

The call to Femi Kuti in Lagos – down a line which on rare occasions reaches something approaching functional – finds his country is in turmoil. Thee ministers in the... > Read more

Rokia Traore, Ne So (Nonesuch)

Rokia Traore, Ne So (Nonesuch)

As Elsewhere has previously noted, the nation of Mali which was a hotbed for talent two decades ago has fallen into harder, political times in recent years. There has been a military coup, the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

The ambience of the Stockholm headquarters of Spotify – the world's fastest growing online music streaming service – isn't what you might expect. No skateboard-riding computer nerds... > Read more

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

When you think of Rhode Island, you don't immediately think of it as a crucible of the blues. It's the state north of New York so small you could carpet it, the home of the red chicken - Rhode... > Read more