This collection is divided into three parts; traditional Egyptian slow rhythms, faster rhythms and foreign (non-Egyptian) rhythms. The first two tracks are drum solos – as are many of the others on the album - with an emphasis on sagat patterns. Each selection is at least 2 minutes long, just enough time to live the rhythm but not too long to be boring. The tracks are also designed to encourage improvisation – particularly those NOT recorded as drum solos. These make ideal back-beats for finger cymbal solos.
All of the album’s rhythms are well known in Egypt. Many are basics (maqsoum, fellahi, ayoub, masmoudi soughrayir, malfouf). There are those Western dancers will find familiar - but perhaps not know their names (ingara, bambi). Others harken back to the past, either Ottomon (wahda, masmoudi kebir), or the earlier Andalousian (darj, samaee). Most of the remaining rhythms are regional, either from within Egypt (saidi, noubi, sinbati) or the Middle East (dubki, khaleegi, kuwaiti, shoubi, afriqi, libi). Also included are two versions of the same rhythm - slow versus fast, because rhythms can sound different depending on their speed. At the end are three tributes to 1930s Hollywood (fox, rumba, samba).
For more information about the rhythms themselves, please see the booklets for the first Pulse of the Sphinx and Artemis Mourat’s Zill Speak, the first volume of our Cymbals Speak series. In them many of the beats have been transcribed into musical notation, translated into “drum speak” - the language of “doums, taks and teks” of Middle Eastern drummers – and broken down into helpful word memory tools.