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Ali Hassan Kuban
Real Nubian: Cairo Wedding Classics
Piranha (

cd cover This is largely traditional-sounding music, with a few notable exceptions in the instrumentation. The ever-present throb of the electric bass tends to solidify the beat, though sometimes to the detriment of the rhythmic flow, while the horns add a sense of urban ambience. Percussion keep things moving and serves as a backdrop for Ali Hassan's somewhat raspy vocals, with occasional interjections from accordion, synthesizer and harmonica. The harmonica fits in here better than one would think, and there are other touches of oud, nay, and even bagpipes that keep the overall sound from becoming too repetitive. About half of the tunes were composed by Ali Hassan but sound traditional. This guy reminds me a bit of Joe Zawinul (they're probably about the same age, too) in the way he integrates unfamiliar sounds with a traditional base while keeping the whole stew bubbling. - Joe Grossman

CD available at cdRoots

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