May 11 2009
Sound Travels, the Middle Easttern edition. From Northern Africa to Iran, the Bosporus to the Upper Nile including the Levant; I got some cuts. That start with the late, great "Dark Nightingale" Abdul Alim Hafez who was one of the most popular Egyptian singers and actors not only in Egypt but throughout the Middle East from the 1950s to the 1970s. He is widely considered to be one of the four 'greats' of Egyptian and Arabic music-- a perfect start for the week I think. When I went to Morocco back in the day the ladies would still speak with a genuine affection for this cat and his music was still on TV! A good cut too, the very one that would inspire an enormous hit for rap mogul Jay-Z.
Peter Gabriel is famous for many things though I don't think the soundtrack to the then-controversial Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ, back in 1989. While people don't seem to recall it much, it was super important as far as world music goes having introduced many listeners to such now world-renowned talents as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan(RIP), Youssou N'Dour, L. Shankar, and Baaba Maal, paving the way for these and other musicians to find audiences in America. Speaking of the "Land of The Free," it is another land that Shoshana Damari sings of in "Erets Zavat Halav Udvash," which is Hebrew for 'The Land Of Milk & Honey.' Yemeni born, Shoshana was known as the "Queen" of Israeli song. This is just one of many surprising, good songs on her most famous album Kalinot.
Deejay Om's "Middle Eastern Swan Song" is the only song from a non Middle Eastern artist here, but the song relates and resonates well in the set I have today. Besides any excuse to play music from his excellent release Reheated Naan And Curry is fine with me. Anoosh JahanShahi fills some space within the song with an "Ud Solo" I found on his album Chattr-e-Eshgh.
The artist I am most puzzled by as well as intrigued was discovered on "accident" while searching for something else entirely. San Diego resident Tawher, whose simplistic self-aggrandizement in limited English makes him seem a musical Borat, a more sane Wesley Willis perhaps, but cat has some skills, and killer beats. Though I really am not sure he's not really a genius, this beat makes me think he rather is. Nice instrumental there and at the end of the set with another Sound Travels favorite, Farid and more of his extra-nice instrumental Rai. If you missed it, this was the sound of the day...
Sound Travels Monday: Mideast Piece I
Tracklisting & Media
1. Abdel Halim Hafez: "Khosara Ya Jara"
2. Peter Gabriel: "The Feeling Begins" Passion
4. Shoshana Damari: "Erets Zavat Halav Udvash(The Land Of Milk & Honey" Kalinot
5. Deejay Om: "Middle Eastern Swab Song" Reheated Naan And Curry
6. Hamdi El Khayat: "Dancer's Heartbeat" The Doom-Tek Project
7. Anoosh JahanShahi: "Ud Solo" Chattr-e-Eshgh
8. Tawher: "The Sweet Escape" Exclusive Remixes vol. 11
9. Farid: "Bent Bladi" Rai Instrumentals