Abdel Halim Hafez
Label: We Want Sounds (UK)
Catalog: WWSLP 065LP
Wewantsounds reissue Mawood one of the cornerstones of Egyptian music, recorded in 1971 by legendary Arabic singer Abdel Halim Hafez. Famously sampled by Jay-Z on "Big Pimpin'", Hafez is captured here live with his full orchestra including Omar Khorshid on guitar. The album mixes traditional Arabic music with modern instrumentation and shades of '70s groove. "Mawood" is one of Hafez's all-time classics, written by the legendary composer Baligh Hamdi. Alongside Oum Kalthoum, Warda, Farid el Atrache, and Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Hafez revolutionized Egyptian music and became a hugely popular star across the whole Arab world. Blessed with striking good looks, Abdel Halim Hafez started his career in the early '50s and quickly attracted the attention of one of the Egyptian radio's A&Rs who took him under his wing and invited him to perform on the radio.
His career went from strength to strength and from 1953, he was associated with the Egyptian revolution led by Nasser. His music mixing tradition and modernity made him one of the most loved singers of the 1950s as he developed a romantic edge that became his signature style (he was dubbed "the dark-skinned nightingale"). In the mid-50s, hot on the heels of his success in music, he launched his acting career in the thriving Egyptian film industry and also became a hugely popular actor. Hafez worked with the greatest composers of their time including Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Baligh Hamdi. Recorded live in 1971, "Mawood" is one of the singer's most recognizable standards. The song stretches over the two sides of the album and consists of several sections alternating instrumental parts and sung ones.
The song, written by Egyptian poet Mohamed Hamza, sees Hafez talking to his heart, apologizing for driving it from failure to failure and concluding that, to find solace, one must keep love at bay. He's backed by his full orchestra featuring traditional instrumentation and those powerful strings that influenced the likes of Jean-Claude Vannier, together with modern instrumentation including organ and electric guitar by Omar Khorshid adding his unmissable twang to the ensemble. Mawood mixes tradition and modernity and develops into a hypnotic epic full of groove with a superb soulful performance by one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. Remastered for vinyl; features the original LP artwork with a two-page insert featuring new liner notes (English/French) by Mario Choueiry (IMA, Paris).