The popularity of hybridizing Middle Eastern musical styles with jazz has been demonstrated many times over by the likes of Rabih Abou-Khalil and George Mgrdichian, but where these artists draw on classic jazz, Sharkiat draws on fusion-style jazz like Weather Report or Miles Davis toward the end of his life, or jazzy Latin music like bossa nova. One track, "Amm," sounds remarkably like Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, with the kanun (Arabic zither) sitting in for Fleck's banjo!
So what we have here is a high-energy, eclectic mix of styles on an Egyptian base. There are few vocals, and they are not central; the instruments are mostly regional (oud, dof, tablas from India, etc.) along with Western bass, high-hat, and bongos. The pace slows down toward the end of the album, and the pounding -- but midtempo -- title track is a thoughtful mixture of East and West. The music will offend a few purists, but it's really good, clean fun.