CD, "Al Amoura"
Review by Catherine
who had been dancing for a decade in Finland, had the opportunity
to go dance in Egypt and that is where she has been since 2005.
This CD is a natural outcome from her time spent dancing in various
venues from the Marriott
Cairo to the cruising restaurants, Nile
Maxim and Pharaohs
When I first listened
to this new CD, "Al Amoura", which was produced in Cairo
by and for Outi, I thought "nice, pleasant music".
Then I burned myself a copy to play in my car for my long commute
to work and soon I was dancing my way to work. Anyone
who knows me probably has heard me say how much I love accordion
music and this CD has made full use of the accordion. It
isn't only the accordion that you get to hear in all these pieces.
of the more classical style music to which I like to listen, the
Egyptian orchestra used to record this CD includes accordion,
violins, nay, cello, kawal, kanoon, duffs, doholla, tablas and
sagat along with a more modern instrument, the ubiquitous keyboard.
This music has been
created with a bit of the classical feel added to a more modern
flavor to give us some very danceable Egyptian music. There is
a softer element to all the selections than most of the loud pop
music that we have been barraged with lately from Egypt and other
countries in the Middle East. The main singer is Safaa
Farid, who also has sung on the CDs produced for
Yasmina and Leila.
He has a pleasant voice, which doesn't overwhelm the music.
selections that are included on the CD can be used for a full
show or broken down into several smaller performances.
number ("Al Amoura") , which was written for Outi by
Reda Saad, has that great sound of a classic opening. It
which immediately draws
your attention, and has several changes in tempo, which keeps
up the interest level through out the piece. The additional tracks
run the gamut from the expected drum solo and balady sections
(both composed for Outi) to a Cocktail Iskandarany, which is comprised
of 2 Alexandrian songs followed by an accordion balady. The older
songs have a fresh new musical interpretation and include
1) a song written for
("Ya Msaharni/You Keep Me Awake All Night");
2) one originally sung
by Abdel Halim Hafiz ("Ana Kull Magul El
Toba/Everytime I Say Never Again" - for some reason I think
of Jim Boz when I hear this one);
3) another originally
sung by Shadia in the film Arham Hoby
("En Rah Minnik Ya Ain - Even If You Go Away from My Eyes");
4) the very nice "El
Helwa Dair Shibbakha or Beautiful, Near Her Window",
which was originally composed and sung by Muharam Foad.
There is a finale included as the last track on the CD, which
is a nice addition to have so a dancer doesn't need to edit something
for an exit.
comments from dancers around the world that purchased the
of Colorado says,"I loved this CD. Egyptian Oriental
Music with a modern twist, it is very danceable and one
I'll use over and over again".
of Finland says,"I think Outi's style and the music
fit perfectly, Outi is young and there is so much 'hope
and future and forthcoming love' songs in the cd. Currently,
I'm in love with the melaya mix so it keeps being interesting
for more than two months. It is worth all the money. You
will understand when you get it. It will have longer life
time than many others, because it is a new but simultaneously
classic collection of timeless music. I can only dream how
the songs sound when the orchestra comes here and we all
can dance to that music live."
Al Kahira of the UK says, "Al Amoura is a
must for any lover of Modern Egyptian music. It's a beautifully
crafted collection of very danceable songs."
track Listing from the CD:
- Al Amoura 5.08
- Ya Msaharni 6.17
- Ana Kull Magul El
- Cocktail Iskandarany
- En Rah Minnik Ya
- El Helwa Dair Shibbakha
- Balady 4.35
- Tabla Solo 3.58
- Al Amoura Finale
I have to
admit that my personal favorite is the Balady track as it has
some very nice accordion work done by Reda Saad,
who not only composed the balady but also the opening song.
that there is something for everyone on this CD as it contains
some very useable pieces of music for performing.
The music on this CD
is what Outi uses for her own shows and was arranged especially
for dancing. Other things that I like about this CD
that Outi included
some informative liner notes to describe the music and a bit
out where it came from and the musicians involved.
This is something that
I really appreciate as I think it is important as a dancer to
know something about the music that I am dancing to and not having
to dig around to find it makes my job a bit easier. Of course,
what it really comes down to for me on this CD is how much the
accordion is played. I keep hearing little sections of accordion
balady coming out in different songs and that always gets my attention.
I think this music started to grow on me almost immediately and
now it seems like an old friend, one that I hope to keep
around for a long time.
I asked Outi for some background on why she produced the CD, she
gave me the following statement:
of all I wanted and needed to have music for myself.
I teach or travel abroad to perform or when I perform, very rarely,
with CD in Cairo, I don't have the music I'm used to dance with
my orchestra. So it's very difficult to make really nice work,
with "strange" music.
why the sound and mixing and everything is meant to sound like
a real life performance. There is changing drum accents and melody
tricks. There were two main reasons that I decided to sell the
CD. One reason is that recording, mixing and all the work is not
cheap. And the second is my students. If I use my music in teaching,
they will need the music too. Of course I would benefit for putting
my name out for foreign dancers as well .
wanted to make music that will be good in every way for years.
I was willing to put more money and have better result. Most of
the instruments are live and not taken from keyboard. As a dancer...
always want to know more about the songs I use and I know how
hard it's to find anything without any Arabic contact. I put a
little information about every song. I will put the translation
of the lyrics in my website in near future, so everyone can get
the songs were chosen by me. Some times Safaa Farid (the singer,
leader of the band, and manager) had a couple of ideas and he
gave me his suggestions on songs to listen to and chose from and
some songs he just wanted to do. He said they would be great.
As I have seen and hear his work, I trusted him. He gave
me a lot of support and advice during this process.
important people of all were: Nader Zakaria-
He was responsible for all the technical stuff, Mounir
Abdel Aziz- who is an excellent drummer and Reda
Saad. The three of them worked really hard with recordings,
mixing and everything. Without their talent, the result would
not be same. I can't thank them enough.
additional note- in the song listed as "balady" the
drummer is Yousry Hefny. He has been working
for a long time and still is. He is great man to dance with!"
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
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