Ramzy’s Old and New
Best of Hossam Ramzy vol. 1 & 2
Rock the Tabla
A Review by Elianae
posted May 19, 2013
Hossam Ramzy’s “Best of Volume 1” was compiled in 1997, and is still a standard in modern Egyptian Belly dance music. Classics like Sehr Oyounik (The Magic in Your Eyes), have been used time and time again, and the liner notes say this CD contains “the best and most danceable belly dance pieces in Hossam Ramzy’s huge repertoire, selected by the master himself.” I couldn’t agree more! Many of pieces in this cd are go-to for Egyptian and Cabaret Dancers. They are chock-full of traditional instrumentation, and have beats and rhythms that inspire all Oriental Dancers or fans of traditional Raqs Orientale. Any serious Dancer, whether Cabaret, Fusion, Tribal, or anything in-between would benefit for understanding Mr. Ramzy’s work and musicality.
Rating: 4 zils
“The Best of Hossam Ramzy Volume 2” was produced 8 years later. It contains all new pieces, original to his reperatoire, taken from classics and resampled, or different versions of his earlier work or traditional pieces. This CD also offers a wealth of fantastic beats, both Middle-Eastern in nature, and also taking from more Western, American standard drumming. This disk also offers traditional rhythms for the Oriental dancer, though I found it to be a touch more synthesized than the earlier compilation. The liner notes on this one were very educational, however, and offered translations to the songs, as well as time signatures and rhythm information.
Rating: 3 1/2 zils
“Rock the Tabla”, Hossam Ramzy’s newest venture, released in 2011, is a departure from his greatest hit Compilations 1 and 2. It is still a well-done compilation. In “Rock the Tabla”, Hossam Ramzy combines his masterful tabla skills with the world music stylings of other musical virtuosos such as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Manu Katche, A.R. Rahman, Billy Cobham, and others. The compilation is modern, slick, and well done, but fans of Ramzy’s older work, looking for new pieces for dance may be a bit disappointed. Although there is definitely a strong Middle-Eastern feel to the music, and many traditional time signatures, the music is more of a modern jam-session between talented musicians. I think this album would be fantastic to enjoy as listening music, and musicians will appreciate it, as the skill level of these artists is high. However, it is a bit more western and less pure Egyptian Bellydance, with guitar, bass, Indian, Jazz, African, and World influences. I think that was Hossam Ramzy’s goal, because he says in liner notes that he wished to find common ground between Jazz, Rock, and World music. (He also speaks fondly of his experiences playing with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, and other famous musicians.)
Rating: 3 1/2 zils
In conclusion, and personally being a purist with a lot of my Bellydance music, I like Hossam Ramzy’s “Best of the Best”; in my opinion, it’s hard to improve on that collection. However, I would recommend giving all of these albums a try, as they are all high-quality music. If you are a World-music fan, and love music that jams with a bit of rock thrown in, you’ll like “Rock the Tabla”!
Notes & Resources:
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