Hossam Ramzy - Best of Farid Al Atrash (Music CD)

Release Date: 24 March 2014
Artist: Hossam Ramzy
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This album is a tribute by the famous Egyptian percussionist to the late nightclub and film composer and singer Farid Al Atrash. Oddly for a tribute to a singer, the album is all instrumental. For the most part, it is in that style known as "belly dance" music: a medium-sized orchestra with Western strings, bass, and synthesizer, combined with Arabic percussion, flute, dulcimer, and lute (i.e. the oud). Occasionally joining the proceedings is an uncredited clarinet and a quarter-tone accordion, which is capable of playing the larger number of notes in the Middle Eastern scale. One exception to the belly dance form is the single track not written by the tribute's focus: entitled "Farid Al Atrash," it was composed and performed by Mamdouh El Gebaly. It is largely for solo oud, but understated percussion and (unfortunately) a synthesizer and bass enter a bit before the halfway point.
There are many fine moments on this disc, such as the call-and-response exchange between the oud and the orchestra at the beginning of "Gamil Gamal" and the interesting texture built up in "Ya Wahishny Rod Allaya," the latter of which -- for once -- makes good use of the synthesizer by bringing it forward and showing off its distinctive sound, instead of just letting it hide in the background to spread a general impression of cheesiness. Sadly these moments do not offset the homogenizing Westernization of the Middle Eastern style.
There are two obvious audiences for this disc: belly dance enthusiasts who will find the performance congenial but not too exciting, and lovers of Middle Eastern music, who will be impressed by the competence of the performance but disappointed at the concessions to Western influence and taste. ~ Kurt Keefner

More Detail

  • 1. Yahliw (You Little Beauty!)
  • 2. Ma Alli Wi-Oltilo (She Told Me and I Told Her)
  • 3. Farid Al Atrash
  • 4. Gamil Gamal (Such Beauty)
  • 5. Ya Wahishny Rod Allaya (I Miss You, Please Answer My Calls)
  • 6. El Hayah Helwa (Life Is So Beautiful)
  • 7. Khusara Khusara (What a Loss/Bonus Track)
Release Date: 24 March 2014
Artist: Hossam Ramzy
Catalogue No: EUCD2495