Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla (Arc Music)

 |   |  1 min read

Hossam Ramzy with A.R. Rahman: Cairo to India
Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla (Arc Music)

With the kind of diverse guests only this acclaimed Egyptian percussion player could call on -- jazz drummers Billy Cobham and Manu Katche, A.R. Rahman (aka "the Mozart of Madras", of Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack fame), guitarist Phil Thornton, taiko drummer Joji Hirota, Indian and Egyptian ensembles -- the great Ramzy once again redfines the meaning of world music (largely by ignoring boundaries) and creates a spring-heeled rhythm-driven album which at times sounds as trippy as any Western psychelic rock and at others a reflective, moonlit night at the oasis.

The opening instrumental Arabantana seduces you in with acoustic and electric guitars (John Themis), keyboards, violin and Ramzy's string ensemble as it pulls together elements of Spanish flamenco and dramatic North African folk. But the second half of it takes off into the cosmos.

It is indicative of the journeys which will follow on pieces entitled Cairo to India (an exciting amalgam of wordless Indian singing and boiling percussion), Ancient Love Affairs (movingly spare with Elhamy Ezzat's aching vocals), Billy Dancing (yes, Cobham and belly dance) and Dom and Doumbia (a percussion duet located somewhere betwen Mali and Cairo).

The title track (with a secret, uncredited guitarist which I take to be Ramzy's old friend Jimmy Page perhaps?) lives up to its promise.

Bluesy Flusey is, for want of a better description, a Sahara raga with electric violin and Sawagy is like a Latin belly dance.

There is an uncredited bonus track -- the swirling This Could Lead to Dancing, as it undoubtedly could.

Down the decades Ramzy has worked with Page and Plant, Peter Gabriel, Sting, and jazz players like Chick Corea. He has written soundtracks and has long been an Elsewhere favourite for his albums which, while grounded in North Africa, have a musically inclusive worldview.

If for some reason he has gone past you, you could do worse than tuning in right here and then following this link to more.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this . . . and don't be put off by the cover.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Hossam Ramzy: Sabla Tolo IV (ARC Music)

Hossam Ramzy: Sabla Tolo IV (ARC Music)

Percussionist, arranger and producer Hossam Ramzy has appeared frequently at Elsewhere, and been interviewed. From Egypt, he is one of the few Arabic musicians whose name might be... > Read more

Various Artists: Cumbia Beat Vol 1 (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

Various Artists: Cumbia Beat Vol 1 (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

This double-disc -- with fat multilingual booklet and period photos of bands and chintzy album covers -- pulls together 25 intrumental tracks from the Sixties and Seventies by Peruvian guitar pop... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

HOWL, a film by ROB EPSTEIN and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN

HOWL, a film by ROB EPSTEIN and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN

The three parallel, intercutting narratives here in this story of Allen Gisnberg's famous, half-hour poem Howl and the subsequent obscenity trial can be off-outting at first, and in truth don't... > Read more

LAM CHING-YING (1952-97): The fearless vampire killer

LAM CHING-YING (1952-97): The fearless vampire killer

Those who knew Hong Kong actor Lam Ching-ying describe him as disciplined and often severe, generous to his colleagues, but so private that when diagnosed with liver cancer in mid-1997 he didn't... > Read more