Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hanan | Bahebak

Get it here.

According to this biography, 1980s-90s Egyptian Al Jeel superstar Hanan has released "over six albums." That's, what? Like ... seven albums? 

"Hanan is simply a veteran artist that has a great experience," the bio continues, unperturbed by our western sarcasm. "All her albums are labeled « Slam’s » or hits by the releasing house and that is due to her great voice and unique celebratory style." Mm, yes, indeed -- you can see the word "SLAM!" in glorious teal, right there at the bottom of the CD cover. 

So, wait; let's back up a moment. What is "Al Jeel," anyway? Well, according to Bahebak's liner notes:

"Frustrated youngsters, without their own kind of music, had to wait until the eighties to satisfy their appetites for their own music culture. 

"In Cairo, the centre of major political, economic and cultural trends in the Middle-East, a new sound was born. Mohamed Mounir opened the way with his warm Nubian songs without altering their oriental authenticity."

(God knows one wants one's warm Nubian songs authentically oriental.)

"Soon Hamid el Shairi, the composer, music arranger and singer, began to dominate the scene in Summer 1986, alongside Hanan and Ala abdel Kahalek. Hamid's sense of humour and dedication to his work combined with a gift for melodies and rhythms inherited from the Bedouin and Saidi environment lead 'Al Jeel' music to the top.

"Today more than 100 million young people from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf listen to the voices of Hanan, Ihab Tawfic, Moustafa Amar and Hakim and dance to the rhythm of the Jeel music."

So, there you have it. Questions?

I found this sublimely trashy CD at the Nile Deli on Steinway Street maybe a year ago. Listening to it last night after work, I realized that you simply had to have it. Trust me, you do. You really, really, really do.

So, there. You have it.

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