Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Simon Shaheen - The Music Of Mohamed Abdel Wahab [Zehra 008 Promo]

Re-released via the imprint that is Zehra on october 21st, 2k22 as their cat. no 008 is Simon Shaheen's "The Music Of Mohamed Abdel Wahab". Originally put out on the circuit via Bill Laswell's very own Axiom label in 1990 with the labels head honcho also taking over the role of a producer we see the oud / viola player Simon Shaheen provide interpretations of pieces composed by Mohamed Abdel Wahab, a large scale influence and highly productive source of classic Arabic music as well as contemporary Egyptian songwriting who was regarded as musical treasure by several Arabic nations, even composing and re-arranging the national anthems of several states. With this most recent re-issue providing a selection of seven of Mohamed Abdel Wahab's works over the course of a 42 minutes runtime one can clearly recognize, or at least imagine, the composers roots in the film industry, especially introducing the 'musical film' genre to Arab cinema, in pieces like the lively, ever meandering "Al Hinna" or the epic vocal arrangement of "Sittel Hadayeb" whereas the extended "Hanil Widd" comes in on a deeper, slightly melancholia-infused angle and "Ibnil Balad" seems to embrace the uplifting and cheerful sounds of what might be a cliche of an Oriental celebration under the hot and burning desert sun. Furthermore "Theme & Variations" pairs large scale strings with mediterranean, probably Greek, influences, the intro sequence of "Bortugal" is an exercise in solo oud mastership before developing into a fully flegded song structure whereas the closing cut that is "Mudnaka" harks back to more cliche-laden melancholia for a finale. Defo one for avid collectors of contemporary Arab x Oriental music, this.


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