Arabic Cafe

Posted By MiOd On Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Under , ,
Arabia conjures up images of sprawling deserts, oasises studded with groves and date palms and the commotion of local bazaars. After sundown people gather in the local cafés to drink coffee and enjoy the growing cool of the evening. From the haunting voice of Oum Kalthoum to the awe-inspiring sounds of Hamdi Ahmed and Amal Murkus, The Rough Guide To Arabic Café is a musical journey through this alluring part of the world.

Following hot on the trail of 'Rough Guide to North African Cafe,' this album continues Rough Guide's move towards themed or mood CDs (as opposed to their earlier releases which tended to cover specific geographic regions). This time around, we're treated to a broader sweeping coverage of the modern Arabic and Arabic-fusion music scene, transporting you to smoke-filled coffee houses in Cairo and Damascus, cutting edge night clubs in Dubai and Beirut, and the bustling streets of Jerusalem, Marrkech and Baghdad. So what sets this CD apart from the dozens of other 'Arabic lounge' type albums out there, some of which are indeed pretty good? Well the selections for one. Rough Guide compilations tend to feature outstanding selections, living up to their name, and this particular release is no exception. The old guard of Arabic music appears alongside cutting edge new artists, all of whom you'll be fascinated to search for more releases from. Not only that, but they tend to emphasize local artists, as in guys who actually come from Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Syria and other Arab states.

Long time fans of Arabic music will appreciate the inclusion of familiar names on this album, such as the grand lady of Egyptian song herself, Oum Kalthoum, the 'Oriental piano' of Maurice el Medioni, and yet another remix of Rachid Taha's 'Ya Rayah' (itself a cover). Theres also a cover of Fariuz's 'Kifak Inta' by Marwan Mesho and the Salatin el Tarab Orchestra (who appear on the 'Think Global: Bellydance' album). And Lebanon's Ghada Shbeir (who won a BBC 3 World Music Award in 2007) uses her astounding voice to showcase the beautiful art of muwashshah. But the real treat comes from the more recent artists, some of whom were new even to myself. Several talented Egyptian artists, such as Fatma Zidan and Mohammed Roshdi, the police orchestra sound of Habib Shehadeh Hanna and Reem Talhami, and an incredibly cool Gypsy tinged cover of the old Andalusian 'Lamma Bada' by Lebanese crooner Tony Hanna and the Yugoslavian Gipsy Brass Band (who give it a suitably Balkan feel). Even Nubian music gets represented by Mahmoud Fadl, and a collaboration between Salamat and Les Musiciens du Nil!

All in all, each track is quite atmospheric, from lush Egyptian orchestras to Balkan Gypsy bands, from the melodic sound of the 'oud to haunting female vocals, from Nubian drumming to techno-remixed rai. Unlike the previous 'Rough Guide to North African Cafe' (which it nonetheless complements quite nicely) this album tries to cover the entire Arabic world, but with a strong emphasis on Egypt and the Mashreq So if you are a fan of Middle Eastern music, this CD will be right up your alley. So pop this CD into your player, grab a cup of qahwa and light up your shisha... this album is the next best thing to being in Cairo, Aleppo, Algiers, Casablanca, Beirut or Jiddah. I really recommend you buy this CD alongside it's counterpart, 'Rough Guide to North African Cafe,' especially if you want even MORE Arabic sounds. And check out some of the other artists who appear on this CD. You will fall in love with them all!

01. Amal Murkus: Ya Oud
02. Amer Ammouri: Al Mashdal
03. Salamat Meets les Musiciens du Nil: Kabadin
04. Habib Shehadeh Hanna, feat. Reem Talhami: Kool Shee Helo
05. Ghada Shbeir: Ahwah Kamaran
06. Hamdi Ahmed: El Dawhaa
07. Fatma Zidan: Ger Aach
08. Mohammed Roshdi: Soukara
09. Louwi Tnnari: Baad Al Khisam
10. Oum Kalthoum: Ayoha Al Raïeh El Moged
11. Mahmoud Ahmed: Ana Wehabibi
12. Maurice el Madioni: Ahla Ouassala
13. Latif el Idrissi: Ya Rayah
14. Marwan Mesho/Salatin el Tarab Orchestra: Kifak Inta: Kanoun Taksim
15. Ghazi Abdel Baki, feat. Yasmina Joumblat: Ya Habibi
16. Tony Hanna & The Yugoslavian Gipsy Brass Band: Lamma Bada

320 kbps including Front Cover & PDF

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