Zein Al-Jundi

Texas platters

Phases & Stages

Zein Al-Jundi

Traditional Songs From Syria (ARC Music)

Imagine OutKast asking local MC Bavu Blakes to lay down tracks in Atlanta. Or Austin's Pieces of East being taped by sonic wizard Bill Laswell in NYC. Or how 'bout Brian Eno phoning 710 kings Pong to set up a London studio date? These are the like counterparts to world musician Hossam Ramzy summoning Austinite Zein Al-Jundi to record in Cairo. An Egyptian master drummer living in England, Ramzy's worked with Peter Gabriel, Gipsy Kings, Jay-Z, Page & Plant, Luciano Pavarotti, Killing Joke, Loreena McKennitt, etc, etc. It was perhaps through the singer's myriad stage and soundtrack work that Ramzy got wind of Al-Jundi's vocal talents, offering his producing/percussive services for her debut in the Egyptian capital. Fans who've long packed Al-Jundi's Hafleh bazzars at La Zona Rosa will recognize the sounds of this orchestrated music collection from the singer's homeland. For others, the quickest reference point is probably the shorter repertoire of the Arab world's most famous vocalist, Oum Kalthum. Given Ramzy's talents, the engineering and performance of the 13 cuts are excellent, providing an ample launching point for Al-Jundi's vox. Offered by the worldly German ARC imprint, Traditional Songs From Syria is a strong recording debut by a trained architect and a translator of world traditions. In the process, it's yet another feather in Austin's global chapeau. (Zein Al-Jundi hosts another Arabic Hafleh at La Zona Rosa Saturday, Feb. 12.)

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