Ostensibly conceived to take advantage of the latest vogue for ‘bellydance’ music, this snappy set of Arabic instrumentals is a rhythmic delight from start to finish.
Mahmoud Fadl is the renowned percussionist with the Egyptian Drummers of the Nile, and over the years he has recorded many songs from the classic Arabic songbook, weaving traditional Arabic instrumentation (oud, nay, qanun and violin) around a multi-faceted array of percussion instruments.
Many of those recordings appear here as part of a dance-orientated series of full band arrangements punctuated by short, brusque passages of all out controlled percussive mayhem.
Some of the greats of the Arabic music world are represented - Oum Kalthoum (including a 14-minute version of her classic unfolding drama Aghadan Alkak) and Mohamed Abdel Wahab amongst them — as well as traditional numbers and original compositions. And it all works surprisingly well, the only drawback being that some of the more lush, orchestral backings are crying out for a great vocalist to finish off the emotional feeling that they invoke.
The bonus club mix track at the end of the CD is an incongruous way to round of an organic and rootsy set of songs, but everything else on From Cairo With Love has much to appeal to dancers and listeners alike.
This review first appeared on www.flyglobalmusic.com