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Oriental Music - Released June 25, 2018 | Drumzy Music Productions

Oriental Music - Released January 3, 2012 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released August 2, 2011 | ARC

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After countless albums under his own name and guesting on other people's, the Egyptian percussionist comes out with something very high profile indeed. With people like jazz drummer Billy Cobham, Bollywood composer A. R. Rahman, and Turkey's Omar Tekbilek on board, it couldn't be anything less than stellar, and Ramzy has pulled out all the stops here. Although Egypt is at the core of everything, Rock the Tabla glides musically into many corners of the world, as on "Cairo to India," which brings two countries together quite naturally (as does the bonus cut, "This Could Lead to Dancing," which goes out on a glorious swirl of strings). In between, there's some stellar jazz-inflected material in "Six Teens," where Cobham offers a reminder of why he's so lauded, a pair of percussion duets (Egypt meets Japanese taiko drums and Egypt goes to Mali), and some Maghrebi pop on "Sawagy." The true highlight, however, is the title track, one of the best pieces of Arab rock to ever come out of a pair of speakers, with Tekbilek bringing the mizmar and a carefully unnamed guitarist who sounds suspiciously like a '70s icon (Ramzy worked on Page & Plant's Unledded), giving the tune some hard electric lines that really power it, and which might just be Ramzy's best composition to date. Unsurprisingly, all the percussion is mixed high, but not at the expense of everything else, and listening to the players is like attending a master class in musicality. It's certainly Ramzy's most inspired release in years. He's working with people he admires and who push him hard. The joy is hearing him -- and everyone else -- deliver. ~ Chris Nickson

Oriental Music - Released May 3, 2011 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released January 4, 2011 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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A recent album from the guru of Egyptian (and world) percussion, Hossam Ramzy. This album sticks pretty tightly to Egyptian classical sounds, without so much of the straying that is his wont. While Ramzy's percussion is always the star of the show, here the melody is really carried by Farouq Mohammed Hasan's accordion playing. Along with this, there's some exceptional flute playing by Ibrahim El-Kawala on the kawala and Mohammed Ali on the nay. While the accordion and the flautists might be the stars of this album, it's Ramzy's choice of songs that really makes the album what it is. While Ramzy has dozens of albums out there to choose from, each one has a slightly different flavor. This one has a pretty clear focus, and sticks to it quite well. While it doesn't necessarily have the authenticity of a full-blooded album from the Cairo historical orchestras, that isn't always Ramzy's intent. That said, it's still quite a good showcase of Egyptian music. Not all purely classical, but all performed quite well. For the basic look at Ramzy's main musical love, this album is a good way to go. ~ Adam Greenberg

Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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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

Oriental Music - Released February 1, 2010 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released January 1, 2008 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released December 10, 2002 | ARC

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Oriental Music - Released January 1, 2000 | ARC

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