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Egyptian Rai

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Rai has to be just about set to take over the world. The rhythms are undeniable, the grooves ecstatic, the craftsmanship of a Rachid Taha figure absolute. Nonetheless, its rise has been slow in the West. Courtesy of journeyman Hossam Ramzy though, we have an album of the Egyptian interpretation of rai. Instead of the gloriously tight executions and string arrangements of Algerian rai, Egyptian appears to be focused more on the multicultural aspect, with a large scale jam session as the outcome. Instruments and songs are plucked from around the Middle East and North Africa, each performed exquisitely by a crack troop of performers. However, the execution is more akin to the old New Orleans aesthetic of collective improvisation. Sure, there's a theme and an underlying song to be played, but all of the players attack simultaneously for much of the album, with the result being a bit exhausting. The joy inherent in its Algerian counterpart is still present, and the passion is expressed through the multitude of rhythms rather than the power of the arrangement. Performances on trumpet and ney highlight the album, with solos by Aziz Ben Salam and Samy El Bably pouring out emotion notably well. Ramzy has a trademark touch of fusion and exploration in his work, meeting the old with the new, and rai is an excellent ground for such exploration. The sound isn't nearly as tight as that of the greats of rai (Cheb Khaled, Faudel, Taha, Cheb Mami), but the point isn't tightness here, it's the joy of music. In that light, it's a nice album. Don't pick it up as a preexisting fan of rai, but do pick it up as a fan of Ramzy's other work (o r even light belly dancing perhaps).


Geboren: Cairo, Egypt

Genre: Weltmusik

Jahre aktiv: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Egyptian native Hossam Ramzy is the leader and chief percussionist of Pharaoh's Egyptian Ensemble, best known to Western listeners as the backing group featured on Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's No Quarter tour and album. Ramzy began playing the darabouka (Egyptian tabla) at a young age, much to his father's dismay. He moved to Saudi Arabia as a teenager, learning his craft while supporting himself by playing trap drums for radio and television programs. In 1975, he moved to England to study jazz...
Komplette Biografie
Egyptian Rai, Hossam Ramzy
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