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 from Elsewhere articles index

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Vivo (Crammed Discs)

Further proof -- if any more were needed -- that "world music" is a very slippery and loose term. These Womad visitors deliver a heady brew of Afro-Colombian grooves, soul-funk, hip-hop... > Read more

Minyeshu: Daa Dee (ARC Music)

Minyeshu: Daa Dee (ARC Music)

Bridging the Ethiopian jazz of her homeland, sweeping orchestrated jazz-funk, world music and nostalgic ballads (as on the piano-based title track here), this expressive singer has become a fixture... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE HIGHLY PERSONAL QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Merk

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE HIGHLY PERSONAL QUESTIONNAIRE . . . Merk

Some albums are enjoyable, some are accomplished and some are important. It's the rare one – such as Infinite Youth by Auckland's Merk (Mark Perkins) – which is all three. A... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Simon Thacker

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Simon Thacker

Scotland's Simon Thacker is one of Elsewhere's kinda people. He plays classical guitar but has his ears wide open to the world and mostly works in cross-cultural contexts with musicians from India.... > Read more