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#367 - My WOMADelaide '97 wish-list Pt.1, and a surprise interview with Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy

Program 367

ARTIST ... Origin
Title  Duration
(Album) [Label]

Nusrat FATEH ALI KHAN & Michael BROOK .... Pakistan / Canada
Sweet Pain 6'19
(Night Song) [Real World]
Another enjoyable collaboration. Nusrat's voice is noticeably more gentle than in its usual context, and we don't just get one voice either. At times there is an overdubbed chorus of vocal acrobatics from this great man. I take comfort with these experimental diversions in the knowledge that he will obviously continue to be totally committed to his devotional music. Yes I appreciate that Nusrat has already come to 2 WOMADelaide festivals, and I will never get tired of his Party's performances. As for Michael BROOK, I think I would prefer to see him perform in his usual way or come with someone like Jon HASSELL. Dream on....

Natacha ATLAS .... UK
Yalla Chant 5'39
(Diaspora) [Beggars Banquet]
Noticeably absent from the 3 previous WOMADelaide events, was a strong representation of music and influence from the Arab world. Natacha ATLAS touches on it, and the 2 suggestions that follow would undoubtedly be expensive, but fine additions to the festival. Hang the expense.

Baba L'Rouami 3'05
(Gnawa Music of Marrakesh) [Axiom]
Give me this group, Mahmoud GHANIA, or any other fine Gnawa exponents. I figure that if great Qawwali performers can share their music in a way that is compatible with the usual devotional context, then perhaps these fine musicians could be persuaded to do the same.

El-Madahey 4'30
(Apocalypse Across The Sky) [Axiom]

A surprise interview with Egyptian percussionist HOSSAM RAMZY, breezing through Melbourne as leader of his orchestra THE EGYPTIAN PHARAOHS that toured the world with Zeppelin veterans Jimmy PAGE & Robert PLANT **

Hossam RAMZY .... Egypt / UK
El Hawzi 4'14
(Egyptian Raï) [ARC Music]
The Interview. I broadcast the entire 30 minutes with Hossam RAMZY in three sections, totally unedited - a credit to his eloquence. We talked briefly about his role in the Page/Plant tour, and whether there were any difficulties with orchestra members practising their faith because of concert commitments, especially during Ramadan. Apparently the tour organisers accomodated all their needs.

Mr. Ramzy told us that his main reasons for moving to England in October 1975, was to learn about other cultures, find common denominators, and to disseminate an appreciation for Arabic music and culture in the process - a mission that can take a life-time.

Hossam RAMZY .... Egypt / UK
Ma Alli Wi-Oltilo - She told me, and I told her 6'30
(The Best of Farid Al-Atrash) [ARC Music]
He told about his idea for workshops here with Alex Pertout, to explore common points and counterpoints between Latin and Egyptian rhythms. There are plans to record with Scottish band A BIG COUNTRY, a whole album with Canadian singer/songwriter and musician Loreena McKENNITT, and then fly to Egypt to begin another project similar to "Source of Fire". Also expect another series of belly-dance discs for release early next year, possibly on ARC, or his own new label The Sultan of Swing.

Hossam RAMZY .... Egypt / UK
The Magic In Your Eyes 4'58
(Source of Fire) [ARC Music]
Obviously I expressed my wish to see him perform here in his own right with his Egyptian band/orchestra. Then I opened a Pandora's box by raising the use of the commercially motivated term "World Music" and its connotations. Mr. Ramzy's answer lasted 10 minutes, covering his displeasure with "Third World" notions, media distortions of Arab issues and customs from the Western perspective, and ignorance of realities in the continuing frictions in the region. I just let him go for it.

For me this was a very rewarding meeting with a man who is passionate about the welfare of human-kind, his music and his spiritual life. I hope we meet again.

Hossam RAMZY .... Egypt / UK
Your Love For Me Is Forbidden 3'30
(Source of Fire) [ARC Music]

Omar Faruk TEKBILEK .... Turkey / USA
Fly Away 4'27
(Whirling) [Celestial Harmonies]

Talip ÖZKAN .... Turkey
Suda Balik Oynuyor 3'14
(The Dark Fire) [Axiom]

Spune, spune mos batrin 5'25
(Honourable Brigands, Magic Horses and Evil Eye) [Crammed]

VÄRTTINÄ .... Finland
Niin mie mieltynen - The Beloved 4'00
(Aitara) [Xenophile]

Undeterred by the imminent WOMAD INDIAN PACIFIC tour being the substitute this year, my WOMADelaide '97 wish-list continues next week.