Boomkat Product Review:
Originally released in Egypt on cassette in 1980 on the Soutlephan label, Eyoun El-Alb makes it's vinyl debut on Wewantsounds annotated by Disco Arabesquo and remastered for vinyl by Colorsound Studio in Paris for the joy of Arabic funk and Global beats worldwide.
"When it comes to Arabic Divas, Oum Kalthoum, Fairuz and Warda usually take the lead in the poll list. But in her native Egypt, singer Nagat Al Saghira comes very close to this triumvirate. Born in Cairo in 1938, Nagat began singing when she was still a child gaining her stage name "El-Saghira" ("the young one") at this occasion as she started giving concerts at the age of seven, pushed by her father, the famed calligrapher Muhamad Hosny (Nagat's half-sister is the renowned actress Soad Hosny). Nagat quickly rose to fame in the late forties and became an essential part of classic period of Arabic music, interpreting songs by such titans as Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Baligh Hamdy and Kamal Al Taweel. She also sang the works of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani whom she introduced to a mainstream audience. Nagat started singing shorter songs but then upgraded to longer ones, often performing/recording them live as it was the trend in the 60s and 70s.
One such song is "Eyoun El Alb" ("Eyes of the Heart") which makes up the whole of Side 1 of the original cassette. Written by Mohamed El Mougy and Abd al-Rahman al-Abdouni, Eyoun El Alb is a love song made up of several distinct sections enhancing Nagat's hypnotic singing, accompanied by a percussion-heavy, traditional Egyptian orchestra.
Side 2 is the "diggers" groovier side featuring two floaters,"Bahlam Ma'ak" ("I Dream with You") and "Ana Basha El Bahr" ("I Adore The Sea") produced by cult Egyptian musician and producer Hany Shenouda, whose albums with his group Al Massrieen are highly sought after on the Arabic funk and Disco scene. One Al Massrieen track features on the "Sharayet el Disco" set compiled by Disco Arabesquo who notes that "Hany Shenouda had made waves with his new musical style that weaved in western funk and disco sounds into Egyptian music"
Both tracks feature an infectious slow-burning groove and incorporate funk influences with fat bass and lines of synth and clavinet that adds a funky tone to Nagat's soft singing. The third track "Fakra" ("Do You Remember") brings the best of both world with a syncopated rhythm and arrangements that are slightly more traditional than the Shenouda-produced tracks."