Egypt Unveiled (EUCD2316)is the long-awaited latest collaboration between Egypt’s Ambassador of Rhythm Hossam Ramzy and producer / sonic wizard Phil Thornton. Following the huge success of their previous three collaborations Eternal Egypt, Immortal Egypt (New Age Voice award winner“Best World Music Album”) and Enchanted Egypt, here they present Egypt Unveiled, crowning the trilogy.
With Egypt Unveiled Hossam and Phil have created a unique sound, fusing modern with traditional and uniting Egypt’s ancient history with the 21st century.
“I feel that Egypt is a central element in the creation of the history of the world as we know it today”, says Hossam. It is this idea that inspires much of the music on Egypt Unveiled, perhaps most evident in the instrumental piece ‘Planet Egypt’, as well as the title track. “We have tried to acknowledge the present moment, while creating an awareness of all time that went before.”
The result is a modern fusion album which manages to remain essentially Egyptian. “Phil’s genius in electronic guitars and sequencers provides a multitude of depths and heights that allow me to create that pyramid shape to our sound”, says Hossam. Phil adds, “apart from the fact we can now draw on nearly fifteen years worth of sessions and creative collaboration we have also been able to include performances on the ‘arghul’ for the first time, an instrument which is rarely heard outside of the region.”
This sound was made possible by a return to Cairo, where Hossam and Phil were able to record with some of Egypt’s most talented musicians. They have drawn on a wide range of influences for this album, taking an open-minded approach to sourcing new sounds.
“The feeling of being in the North of Africa opens the door to much of the African culture, and allows us to draw influences from all corners of the continent. I tried to reflect this with a new slant on my drumming approach”, acknowledges Hossam.
For the track Om Faraon (Mother of Pharaoh) Hossam and Phil recorded the calls of market sellers from one of Cairo’s many bazaars, as they advertise their booty of ladies’ lingerie. “Their rap says ‘Ma-a El Harim El Nash-ha’, meaning ‘this is for the wise women who know what to buy’” says Hossam, “…and who could be wiser than a Pharaoh’s mother?”
Phil concludes, “I think Hossam and I both have our distinctive individual styles, the combination of these proved to be unique right from our first work together back in 1995. So, although I feel we have taken this album to the ‘next level’ we have also been true to our shared past.”