The Upper Egypt Ensemble plays traditional folkloric music from the villages along the Nile river. The music features the mizmar, a brilliant, shimmering sounding folk oboe, and the tabla baladi, a drum capable of exciting earthy rhythms. Together they make a powerful combination used to provide music for festivals and celebrations and while still contemporary, provide a living link with the ancient musical traditions of Egypt.
this album for the Egyptian-style dancers who want to get down with the folk sound. But I also think this is a great album for old-school tribal-style dancing. All the songs have great prominent drums that make you want to dance, and most of the tracks are long enough to be satisfying, but short enough to be useful for haflas and showcases. None of the songs have lyrics, so you never have to worry about what anyone is saying.
Ismaaouni - Starts with a kind of mysterious sound, then dives into kind-of slow and laid back but intense drums.
Mzmar Solo - Two mizmars playing off of each other. One stays with a drone in the background, while the other plays the melody, no other instruments at all. all I can say, is you have to really love mizmar.
Aminti Billah - Very slow rhythm at first, picks up into a steady saiidi rhythm as the song goes on.
Ana Ma Fiyee - A little more fast-paced, very easy to clap to, and I couldn't sit still while this song was on. Includes a couple of times where the mizmar hangs back for a while and the drums take over.
Khawatem - Most of the other tracks are based on the saiidi rhythm, this one is mostly maksoum. Great, heavy drums through the whole song.
Gan Al Hawa - I think this song is a little long for a solo, but would make a great tableau-type group dance. The song changes a lot, so it stays interesting for the whole time.
Sirt Al Hob - Another long track. I could only really see using it at a folk dance or international culture festival, since it has a a good "intro"-type sound for the first minute, then goes ito a long but varied song. It has a distinct "finale" type section for the last minute as well.
Hikayat Mizmar - This track is all mizmar, similar in structure to "Mzmar Solo"
Mazamir Holiday - This one hits hard with the drums right at the start, and there are a number of times in the song where the drums become more prominent over the mizmar.
04.Ana Ma Fiyee
06.Gan Al Hawa
07.Sirt Al Hob