Gilded Serpent presents
Review: "Halawah" on
Compact Disc by Reda Darwish
San Francisco's favorite Egyptian
drummer has again produced a musical offering for the dancer and
Middle Eastern music fans. The musician, Reda Darwish, has been featured
on such notable titles as "Reda--Walk
with the Moon", "Ya
Salaam Ya Reda", "Reda's
Flower" and "Reda--Valley
of the Kings".
Those of you who favor Egyptian subtleties in music have undoubtedly
purchased one or more of these titles for your own collection! This
particular package is a change of pace from the other titles. It
seems a mixture of the modern with the past and introduces a little
bit of fusion music in the last cut, which is titled "Egyptian
1. Halawah 5:24 (Halawah
is a sweet sesame candy-like dessert.)By far, the best selection
on the CD is the composition "Halawah", which is in
the number one position. This piece is one of the three on the
recording that was composed by Reda himself. It is a bit of a
masquerade piece in as much as the introduction, played with
a large keyboard resounding sound, seems to have little relationship
to the fine musical themes which follow it. It is a composition
played with a fast and energetic pace and was appealing to me,
as a dancer, because of its many changes of mood. It includes
vocals by Reda and his fellow San Francisco musician, Nazir Latouf.
The voices lend it a sound reminiscent of those days in the past
that I spent in the nightclubs of Cairo listening to the best
musicians that Cairo had to offer. I do not think, though, that
Ahmad Adawea will be shaking in his boots over the threat of
these two voices on this CD! Their voices are folksy and dower,
and they provide just a touch of that "back home" sound.
2. Tarik el
Zurai 3:29 (I
think that this may loosely translate into something like a person
missing something precious he has left behind like "I Left
My Heart in San Francisco".) Reda's drumming is quick with
a feather touch.Shimmy experts will have a good time dancing
to this selection.
3. El Helwa
Min Sayeed 5:50 (The
beauty in the southern part of Egypt) This selection is slower
in pace than the first two cuts but manages to keep a fine sense
of energy non-the-less.
4. Kanoon Taksim
I 3:18. Played
by Fouad Marzouk, this short taksim fairly shimmers with feeling
that may evoke a sense of impending emotion in the dancer. It
occurred to me that a dancer might combine this taksim with a
couple of other selections from this recording, along with one
of Reda's drum solos, and create her own little custom show.
5. Love Brake
its annoying title, is actually quite a fun and funny little
Reda drum composition! The short piece has clarity, variety,
and humor and no apparent climax, though it does have a definite
ending and does not just trail off into the stratosphere like
some drum compositions on other recordings.
6. Amar el Zaman
Moon of Zaman) This selection features the vocals of Fadi Hanania
who has a pleasant, casual voice along with the prominent drumming
by Reda. I felt that the song was somewhat joyless but since
I do not understand the words, perhaps that quality was appropriate.
7. Ya Rayeh
is a girl's name: hence, "Oh, Rayeh!" This song has
always been a personal favorite of mine and I did enjoy this
delicate kanoon and drum with the sounds of tinkling sagat in
the background. It has a clean, clear ending, without fanfare.
8. Haleena Nit
Fahim Bilzuk 3:16 (The
title seems to mean something like "Let's Discuss This Controversy".)
This arrangement has a happy sound with its staccato delivery.
It is a tad folkloric sounding within the modern instrumentation.
It has a definite end.
cut seems to be something like a medley as it begins with a song
to "Samira" then becomes the old and familiar strains
of "Mambo Sudanee", which happens to be a tune to which
I enjoy dancing. The famous Egyptian saxophonist, Samir Souror
is featured and the whole cut is joyous and has a bit of a folk
sound, even while highlighting the sax! Now, there is a feat!
10. Bin Shatein
Omaya 4:03 (Water
Between Two Shores). This somewhat lengthy arrangement has an
extremely fast tempo with no particular interesting focus for
dance. This tune may be one of those with which one has to have
grown up in order to appreciate. I could not seem to focus my
dance with it, and to top it all off, it appears to have just "run
out of steam" at the end, but then, so did I.
11. Kanoon II
the kanoon of Fouad Marzouk and Reda on the drum and reminds
one of the live music in the old Broadway cabarets.
12. Love Brake
Remix 1:53 is
a fun drum solo-like composition with sounds of clapping and
voices and other variations of sound. Like the first "Love
Brake", it does not seem to build much intensity but is
fun while it lasts.
13. Kanoon Taksim
III 2:26 is
my least favorite cut on the "Halawah"CD. Though it
is sweet and tinkling, it appears a bit thin in energy and trails
off in to the never-never land of a fade.
Tequila 3:53 was
just made for those dancers who are also wannabe Flamenco dancers.
It is bright, happy and takes one back to some long-forgotten
night in Tijuana, or was that, perhaps, Doumiyat?
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Prodigy grows up"