CD Review: Various Artists--Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution

Various Artists--Rough Guide to the Arabic Revolution (2013)
Label: World Music Network
CD will be released in March 2013



This double CD compilation showcases Arab singers and musicians whose songs have provided the ‘soundtrack’ to the Arab Spring. CD 1 mainly features Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan and Palestinian singers while CD2 strictly showcases the music of Ramy Essam, a young Egyptian singer who is known for playing his guitar and singing against the Mubarak regime in the streets of Cairo, leading to his arrest and torture. His best known song (oddly not included in this compilation) is “Irhal” [Depart] in which Mubarak is urged to resign. That track is referred to as the anthem of the revolution.

--All Tracks are FCC CLEAN—

CD1 (Compilation; Artist/Song)

**1. Ramy Essam/ Taty Taty: Features Egyptian singer/activist Ramy Essam, accompanied by his guitar, sarcastically singing about democracy in Egypt. 

2. Emel Mathlouthi/ Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free): Tunisian songstress whose new album was fueled by the Tunisian revolution. 

3. El Tanbura/ Heela Heela: El Tanbura is a collective of veteran Egyptian master musicians, singers, fishermen and philosophers who have been custodians to some of Egypt’s oldest folk melodies at their home in Port Said. 

4. Dam Feat. Abeer Al Zinati/ Hon Enwaladet - Born Here (Arabic Version): Palestinian Hip Hop band living in Israel and singing here about being born there. Abeer is a female rapper who often sings with the group.

5. El General Feat. Mr Shooma/ State Of The Nation: El General is the Tunisian rapper whose song to the then President of Tunisia went viral on the net, igniting and contributing to the ensuing revolt. 

6. Cariokee/ Sout El Horeya: Canokee’s song about the “Sound of Freedom.” 

7. Sami Yusuf/ I'm Your Hope: Sami Yusuf sings this track in English and classical Arabic about cherishing the young men and women who rose up against their regimes. 

8. Ibn Thabit/ Calling The Libyan Youth: Libyan singer who dedicates his songs to the courage of Libyan women. 

**9. May Matar/ Metlak Mesh 3ayzin: May Matar is a Lebanese singer whose song(s) rebels against patriarchy, sexism, and the subjugation of women. 

10. The Palestine National Ensemble Of Arabic Music/ Kafkef Domouak: Palestinian Chorus performing a track about selling and buying one’s homeland. 

11. Ramzi Aburedwan/ Rahil: Moving instrumental by a Palestinian musician whose career began at age 8. 

12. Mustafa Said/ Ya Masr Hanet We Banet: Longest track on the CD (over 10 min long) by an Egyptian singer who plays the Oud and laments the loss of human life while proclaiming his love for Egypt. 

**13. Dal'ouna/ Et Nous, Nous Aimons La Vie: Slow, soothing tune with narration in French and vocal ensemble singing in Arabic about martyrs, mosques and loving life. 

**My picks: 1, 9, 13 (Ramzi Salti)

CD2 (Songs by Ramy Essam)

1. Etma3zam: Title means “Self Aggrandizement.” Guitar intro; reminiscent of American folk music. 

2. “Action” has guitar plus other instruments about massacres in Egypt.

3. 3ahd Mubark: Title means “The Age of Mubarak.” Track attacks Mubarak and his regime. 

4. 3oksha: Fast track with electric guitar, back vocals, very different from other songs on this CD. 

**5. Bata2ty: Title means “My ID Card” Faster beat; song about free Egypt. Sounds like 80s rock. 

6. Sabona W Khazoo2: Title means “Soap and Trouble.” Symbolic song about Tahrir Square 

7. Shay El-Thawra: Title means “Revolutionary Tea.” About people “boiling” from anger. 

8. 8 April: Short Track marking April 8, 2011, the day when 21 Egyptian military officers switched allegiances and decided to join the Revolution. 

9. Mal3oon: Title means “Rascal.” Ditty about Ahmad Shafiq who lost the elections to Morsi. 

10. El-Masala: Title means “The Matter at Hand.” About the media and dictators. Hard rock sound. 

11. Bta2ty Acoustic: This is the acoustic version of track 5 above. 

**12. Dabora W Short: Title refers to police/secret service uniforms. Song against the police 

**13. El-Ga7sh Wel 7omar: Title means “The Mule and the Donkey.” Song about politicians. 

14. Nafadt: Title is in colloquial Egyptian and refers to “forsaking” order, human rights, and the Egyptian Constitution. 

15. Tartoor: Title refers to a person who is easily manipulated to serve others. Demeaning term. Smooth sounding track.

**16. Al-Masry Al-Asly: Title means “The Real/Original Egyptian.” Just Ramy Essam and his guitar singing about being proud of being Egyptian. 

**My picks: 5, 12, 13, 16  (Ramzi Salti)

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