Various Artists – Sharayet El Disco: Egyptian Disco & Boogie Cassette Tracks 1982-1992 (Wewantsounds)


Well this is unexpected, an obscure collection of 80’s Egyptian disco all sourced from cassette. It’s fascinating to read in the liner notes about the Egyptian tape culture of the time, allowing artists to sell their music directly to the people creating a democratization of the Egyptian music industry. Curated by Egyptian DJ Disco Arabesquo from his collection of cassettes, he’s using the term disco loosely. You’d probably call much of the music disco adjacent, influenced by, and possibly aware of disco, without necessarily adhering to its rules. This music is very much about the boogie however, it’s music to dance to, and was initially looked down on by the more established record labels of the time – until they worked out they could make a buck with it.

The music here is almost without exception a strange collision of influences, where traditional Egyptian sounds butt up against funk, 80’s synthesizer music, funky jazz, and yes elements of disco, with Egyptian vocals on top and to be totally honest it sounds like nothing else around. It’s strangely familiar yet simultaneously quite exotic, worlds colliding every three and a half minutes. Whilst it’s all quite inventive and ridiculously catchy it’s impossible not to pick out the breezy electro funk of Americana Show’s cover of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, which they’ve called ‘Yom Wi Lilah’. It’s simultaneously familiar yet totally alien, and no doubt designed for a dancefloor near you. Yet you don’t need a cover version to connect. There’s so much here to grab onto. Even over thirty years later it’s difficult not to get swept up in this impeccable collection of funky pop and boogie music.

See if you can wipe the smile on your face.


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