FUAD HASSAN ENSEMBLE
Music of the Bedouin Bandit
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from RCA Victor LSP-1991
Here's another slice of RCA exotica with a lot of similarities to the Guy Warren album posted here on Soundological a couple months ago. For instance, both have excruciating exploitative covers with thinly disguised racist overtones (although at least the Guy Warren album had excellent liner notes) with no connection whatsoever to the artists, who were actually authentic masters of their particular ethnic folk genres which revolved around drums, rhythm and dance.
Since I don't read Arabic, there was very little info I could pick up on Fuad Hassan, who's much better known as Ahmed Fouad Hassan. He was Egyptian and, from what I can glean, was basically the Count Basie of North African belly dance, renowned as a composer and bandleader in the lucrative and fast-paced world of the nightclub scene in Cairo.
Most of the info I could find on him was derived from a handful of articles on his ex-wife, Nagua Fouad, who almost sounds like the Josephine Baker of modern belly dance. Now this is where there is some unintended accuracy in the joke liner notes. You see, he actually was a kind of bandit in a way. Some people would call Mr. Hassan a cradle-robber since just a few scant years after this album was released, he married Nagua while she was still a teenager and he was 17 years her senior. It seems to have been some kind of mutually-satisfactory Svengali situation that lasted for six years and during that period she was catapulted into Middle Eastern stardom.
Sensationalism aside, this is actually a superb recording by one of Cairo's best bands and it easily showcases Hassan's considerable skills at both composition and arrangement with its assortment of originals as well as adaptations of familiar tunes and even an early stab at East-West fusion with "Jazz Araby." The rhythms and percussion are forefront throughout as befitting a dance record and if you're a fan of desert sounds you will not be disappointed.
1 Whirling Sands
2 Bolero Ala Drums
4 Egyptian Caravan
6 Eb Si Olanda
7 Dance of the Djiens
9 Hali Men
10 Chifti No. 2
11 Jazz Araby
Belly up to the bar with the Bedouin Bandit and Soundological HERE. (updated 2012-07-27)
Hungry for more? You can also hear Hassan and his group on these compilations:
Belly Dance - Music for An Oriental Dance (5 tracks) at Passionate-Music
The Best Belly Dance Album In The World (3 tracks) at We Love Music
The Rough Guide To Belly Dance (1 track) at NayNayNom
If that's more belly dance beats than you were bargaining for, Soundological plundered those posts to provide our readers with an extra disc's worth of the Bedouin Bandit's beats that you can find HERE. (updated 2012-07-27)