This is a fantastic example of the mastery and invention within Egyptian music, with the soon to be reissued Oriental Music by Ammar El Sherei – Wewantsounds are making this cult collectors piece available again on vinyl, for the first time since its 1976 release.
Using early electronic keyboards like the Steelphon S900 or the Farfisa, as seen on the album cover, the blind El Sherei creates beautifully hypnotic instrumentals, that blend traditional melodies and modern instrumentation, adding jazz and pop elements in the mix. The label says: “Wewantsounds is delighted to announce the reissue of Ammar El Sherei’s superb instrumental album Oriental Music from 1976. Here, the iconic Egyptian musician and composer revisits six classic compositions by another Egyptian legend, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, in his own hypnotic way. This series of great Arabic music reissues, started with the Fairuz and Ziad Rahbani album reissues are curated by Lebanese-born Arabic music expert, Mario Choueiry, from Institut du Monde Arabe, in Paris. This reissue has been newly remastered and comes in its beautiful original artwork.”
The late musician and composer Ammar El Sherei is one of Egypt’s musical giants. Born in Upper Egypt in 1948 into an upper middle class family – his paternal grandfather had been an MP during King Fouad’s reign and his eldest brother became the Egyptian ambassador to Australia – El Sherei moved to Cairo with his family when he was five and attended a special school for the blind, having lost his eyesight in his early childhood. A child prodigy with a unique gift for music, he got noticed by his teachers who recommended him to America’s Hadley School for the Blind, so he could perfect his studies by correspondence. El Sherei then quickly learned piano, oud and composition with unparalleled ease.
Early in his career El Sherei recorded albums for Egyptian recording company, Soutelphan, including Oriental Music – celebrating the music of composer Abdel Wahab, who co-founded Soutelphan. Oriental Music interprets classics such as Ana Wehabieby (aka Ana Wa Habibi), Ya Wabour Koly and the classic Ahwak, made famous by such talents as Abdel Halim Hafez or Fairuz.
Check their Bandcamp website for more details.