Amr Diab

Best of Amro Diab

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A collection of the works of one of the prime movers of the youth (jeel, al-jil) style of music in Egypt, there's a deep connection here with sha'abi, and a slightly lesser one with rai present. Part of the growing number of Arabic artists taking chances and flirting with Western styles here and there, Amr Diab pulls out some bits and pieces of Spanish guitar to hold up songs and Western keyboard riffs. The bulk, however, is the keyboard and horn mixes popular in contemporary Arabic music, along with some touches of tabla and other ethnic percussion. His major international hit, "Habibe," starts out the disc, reminding the listener of who Diab is, and a string of dance-friendly Arabic works follow. "Ana El Munim" includes a catchy foray into jazz (also potentially used by the Gorillaz in "Rock the House") mixed with an oud. Khaled makes an appearance in "Albey," displaying the strength of the connection to rai. Beats are heavy and lyrics thick, occasionally tweaked with touches of electronics, which isn't really necessary given the vocal abilities of Diab to begin with. For fans of the new school of Arabic and North African beat-heavy sounds (Rachid Taha and forward), this album makes an excellent addition, covering the major works of one of the top artists on the Egyptian scene.

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