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Desert Roses and Arabian Rhythms, Vol. 1

Desert Roses and Arabian Rhythms, Vol. 1

4.3 3
The obvious tie-in for this collection of modern Middle Eastern funk is "Desert Rose," Sting's collaboration with Algeria's prince of rai, Cheb Mami, which was a hit car commercial before becoming a hit single. But the deserts of North Africa and the Levant are lush with Oriental pop, from Cairo's movie music to


The obvious tie-in for this collection of modern Middle Eastern funk is "Desert Rose," Sting's collaboration with Algeria's prince of rai, Cheb Mami, which was a hit car commercial before becoming a hit single. But the deserts of North Africa and the Levant are lush with Oriental pop, from Cairo's movie music to the ancient Berber funk of Morocco, and this compilation runs the gamut from the exuberant Egyptian heartthrob Hakim ("Esma Yalli") to the gritty snarl of French Algerian provocateur Rachid Taha ("Qalantiqa"). Following the lead of the titular single, Desert Roses includes nods to Arabic rhythm from diaspora diva Natacha Atlas (representing with the seductive "Mon Amie La Rose"), her old U.K. bandmates Transglobal Underground (the dubby "Pomegranates"), and Colombia's Soraya, who rode the incipient wave of Middle Eastern/Latin groove (cf. Shakira) on her '97 hit "I'm Yours." As the titles alone indicate, this crossover-friendly mix is just right for turning hot nights at home into French Riviera fiestas -- thoughtfully included is a special Club Med-style remix of "Desert Rose" by house DJ Victor Calderon.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Todd Kristel
Inspired by the success of Sting's collaboration with Cheb Mami on "Desert Rose," this 13-song sampler provides an accessible introduction to contemporary music that's connected to North Africa/the Middle East. Balancing Arabian rhythms with modern dance beats and ouds with electric guitars, these songs (several of which are sung in French or English) indicate how musicians have integrated different traditions into modern pop. The album begins with Natacha Atlas, whose haunting and alluring rendition of "Mon Amie la Rose" (a song previously recorded by Francoise Hardy) is likely to motivate many listeners to seek out her Gedida album. "Pomegranates," a song by Atlas' former British bandmates Trans-Global Underground, isn't quite as compelling; however, the group's ethno-techno fusion does provide a different perspective on how musicians have drawn on Arabian sources to create new sounds. Other examples include Iran's Andy, who updates a traditional Persian number; Algeria's Rachid Taha, whose track features Western strings and backing vocals by female trance group B'net Marrakesh"; and highly respected oud and violin master Simon Shaheen, who rearranges "I'm Yours" by Colombian vocalist Sorya. Egyptian vocalist Hakim, who is enormously popular in his homeland, provides a fine example of sha'bi street pop; Tunisia's Latifa, Algeria's Faudel, and Iraqi-born Kazem Al-Saher provide further examples of multicultural pop music; and Khaled's "Aalach Tloumouni" indicates that the compilers did not forget to include the King of rai. Meanwhile, the Prince of rai, Cheb Mami, gets two tracks on this compilation: the lithe "Hay Wadi Hay Galbi," which enhances the album's quality, and a Victor Calderon dance mix of his duet with Sting, which enhances the album's marketability. Unfortunately, some of the selections come perilously close to bland mainstream pop that seems slightly exotic because of the novelty value of the Middle-Eastern influences (e.g., Tunisian-born vocalist Amina's "Dis Moi Pourquoi"). However, most of the selections are good and overall this is a reasonable place to start an exploration of world music.

Product Details

Release Date:
Ark 21


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cheb Mami   Synthesizer
Simon Shaheen   Violin,Oud
Sting   Bass,Guitar
Gail Ann Dorsey   Bass
Zachary Alford   Drums
Kouider Berkane   Strings
Richie Cannata   Saxophone
Mino Cinelu   Percussion
Nicolas Fiszman   Bass,Guitar,Mandolin
Hossam Ramzy   Percussion,Qanoun
Manu Katché   Drums
Kendall Kay   Drums
Helen Liebmann   Cello
Bob Loveday   Viola
Dominic Miller   Guitar
Geoff Richardson   Viola
Steve Shehan   Percussion
Doreen Webster   Harmonica,Vocals
Randy Jacobs   Guitar
Rachid Taha   Track Performer
David Hartley   Sitar
Sameh Catalan   Strings
Patrick Goraguer   Drums
Farouk Mohammed Hassan   Accordion
Nabil Khalidi   Oud
Hamid Mantu   Drums,Background Vocals
Mohamed Moustafa   Keyboards
Spyros Poulos   Keyboards
Aziz Ben Salam   Ney
Timothy Whelan   Guitar,Keyboards
Faudel   Track Performer
Reda Bedaire   Ney
Samier Srour   Saxophone
Hakim Hamadouche   Lute,Background Vocals
M   Bass,Guitar,Percussion
Farhat Bouallagui   Violin,Conductor,Leader
Mahmoud Serour   Violin,Viola
Steve Postell   Guitar
Amr Abdel Azeez   Keyboards
Fadhil Falih   Piano,Keyboards
Bino   Guitar
Mustapha Ettamri   Darbouka
Latifa   Track Performer
Bassam Saba   Nay
Ashraf Abdou   Strings
Moulay Ahmed   Strings
Saed Al Artist   Keyboards
Mamdooh Al Jabali   Oud
Moustafa Abd Al Nabi   Violin
Hasan Abu Al Sioud   Accordion
Majid Yihia   Guitar
Mohammed Al Mabrouk   Guitar
Hisham Al Arabi   Percussion
Sheema Mukherjee   Sitar
Salem Bnouni   Strings
Hassan Lachal   Percussion
Medhat Abdel Samie   Violin
Maged Serour   Qanoun
Doctor Mohsin Al Saed   Guitar
Dhia Bader   Percussion
Tarik Hamood   Guitar
Nicholas Arnold   Conductor
Ahmad Badeer   Rhythm
Magdy El Bourghdady   Trumpet
Moshein Cehntouf   Darbouka,Bendir
Keith Cloustin   Oud
Coleridge   Rap,Djembe
Ahmed Ek Ayedi   Percussion
Hani Farahat   Violin
Wajdie Fouad   Drums
Tim Garsaiddi   Percussion
Tom Yum Hed   Dholak
Madgi Al-Bourghdadi's Group   Overdubs
Yasir Malallah   Rhythm
Michel Merhej   Daff
Mahmoud Osman   Viola
Pino   Guitar
Khaled Rico   Darbouka
B'net Marrakech   Percussion,Vocals
John Rothfield   Violin
Emad Taha   Cello
Gurgut Sihra   Dholak
Ahmad Subni   Rhythm
Tuuo   Conga,Vocals

Technical Credits

Cheb Mami   Composer
Simon Shaheen   Arranger
Steve Hillage   Arranger,Producer
Sting   Producer
Andy   Composer
David Arnold   String Arrangements
Neil Dorfsman   Engineer
Stevo Glendinning   Executive Producer
Laurent Gueneau   Engineer
Pete Hofmann   Engineer
Hossam Ramzy   Arranger
Kipper   Producer,drum programming
Kevin O'Connor   Engineer
Jeff Peters   Engineer
Bobby Summerfield   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Geoff Foster   Engineer
Simon Osborne   Engineer
Transglobal Underground   Composer,Producer
Soraya   Composer
Tim Malone   Engineer
Jill Tengan   Engineer
Mohamed Moustafa   Arranger
Tom Rixton   Engineer
Victor Calderone   Producer,Remixing
M   Producer
Farhat Bouallagui   String Arrangements
Mahmoud Serour   String Arrangements
Dale Voelker   Graphic Design
Dawn Elder   Producer,Executive Producer
Rotana   Producer
Andy Madadian   Arranger,Producer
Kazem Al Saher   Composer
Mara Abboud   Cover Art
Ashraf Abdou   Arranger
John Bevilacqua   Production Director
Morteza Barjesteh   Cover Graphics
Ismaeal Tonshbalk   Contributor
Sameh El Mazni   Engineer
Tom Yum Hed   Contributor
Yasser Hessein   Engineer
Ibraheem Kolah   Contributor
Chris Nickson   Liner Notes
Gurgut Sihra   Contributor
Hamdi Sokar   Producer
Miles Copeland   Executive Producer
Nashat Lofty   Composer
Collier   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Desert Roses and Arabian Rhythms, Vol. 1 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The musical selections contained in this CD are sensual and upbeat and it is a good choice for those who are being introduced to Middle Eastern music for the first time. The mystifying and exotic sounds really bring out the flavor of the Arabic rhythms. It goes without saying that I enjoyed the pairing of Sting and Cheb Mami in "Desert Rose." Many of the artists on this CD, especially the senual voices of Natasha Atlas singing, "Mon Amie La Rose," Soraya singing, "I'm Yours" (in English), and Latifa's powerful voice in "Inchallah," were most enjoyable. I liked listening to Rachid Taha singing, "Qalantiqa." His music mixes Eastern and Western sounds together, producing an upbeat sound. I've played this CD over... and over... and over, again. I'm going to wear it out!
SourceressDeStella More than 1 year ago
Not "traditional" Arabic music but a sampling of many different styles. You'll find tunes in English, French, Arabic. Some Rock, some techno, some pop. Sting and Cheb Mami have their world hit "Desert Rose" on track 5, but I also love track 7 "I'm Your"s where a Colombian star sings in English to music with both a hint of the Middle East and Latin America. Andy on track 6 blends Persian song with American rock guitar- another fave for me. All danceable, and inspiring enough to want the rest of the Desert Roses series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has some great cuts on it and is a great introduction to Middle Eastern music for Westerners unaccustomed to non-Western music. Sting and Cheb Mami's cut of "Desert Rose" makes the album worthwhile initself, but there are a number of other really great pieces on this album. "Desert Roses 2" is equally good!