Mahmoud Fadl

Love Letter from Tut-Ank-Amen

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There are concept albums and there are albums that spring from a concept. For Nubian percussionist Mahmoud Fadl, the inspiration for this disc rested with a love letter written in 1929 by the Cuban writer Dulce Maria Loynaz to the Egyptian pharaoh Tut-Ank-Amen -- who was, of course, long, long dead by then. But Fadl wrote back, using Egyptian love songs as his seductive medium. Whether they they be traditional (like "Ishlonak") or from such lauded composers as Mohamed Abdel Wahab (such as "Khai" and "El Samba"), Fadl keeps a lush, sensual feel to the music. And he's aided by the cream of the Cairo crop, like veteran trumpeter Samy El Bably, who plays with the kind of empathy for material rarely heard anywhere, in any genre. Remarkably romantic, and gently powered by the drumming of the legendary Khamish Henkish (with an English translation of Loynaz's letter in the sleeve notes), this is the perfect (if, perhaps, most unusual) date album.

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