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Yalla: Hit List Egypt
Various Artists
Yalla: Hit List Egypt
Genres: World Music, Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

For this album, released in 1990 and still the best compilation of modern Egyptian music around, David Lodge divvied Egyptian pop into working-class shaabi music and the upscale, educated, urban al-jil ("generation") sound...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Yalla: Hit List Egypt
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mango
Release Date: 9/14/1990
Genres: World Music, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Africa, Middle East, Arabic, By Decade, 1980s, 1990s
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 016253987326, 016253987319, 016253987340

For this album, released in 1990 and still the best compilation of modern Egyptian music around, David Lodge divvied Egyptian pop into working-class shaabi music and the upscale, educated, urban al-jil ("generation") sound, and devotes six rambunctiously appealing tracks to each. In al-jil the ongoing struggle between Islamic conservatism and a secular society tempted by Western ways is acted out in jumpy synthesizer rhythms and cautious, carefully monitored lyrics sung by some of the world's most sensuous singers. So-called shaabi music, on the other hand, is a funkier, rootsier reaction by Arab "country" singers to the wayward politics and pitfalls of urban life. The instruments are acoustic and traditional, the lyrics often socially conscious, and the emotions fervent. Relatively untouched by the West, Egyptian music provides a unique sonic entryway into a truly different cultural universe. ---Richard Gehr

CD Reviews

Hitlist Egypt reveals Egypt's musical evolution. | San Diego County, California | 06/22/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yalla - a synthesis of music of the modern generation with that of traditional folk music - shows how a young generation can devise its own "danceable" music, while retaining recognizable links with the past. This is the music you might hear while walking in downtown Cairo, or visiting a local disco. Yet it contains haunting memories of the Egypt of antiquity.Combine this CD with the CD "Music of the Nile" and you will have an excellent overview of the music ranging from metropolitan to rural Egypt."
Irresistible party/dance/whirl-around-the-house recording
Atomic World | 03/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A friend gave Yalla to me a few years ago. He heard it in a little combo exotic food/CD store, and bought it immediately. I in turn was on my feet within seconds of putting it on. Someone on epinions said it was just for belly dancers. So untrue! But perhaps that reaction came because you move differently to this hybrid though very Eastern recording than you do to straight Western rock (which I'm more familiar with - and these days, in 2002, so much of music is hybrid anyway). It's much more unpredictable,faster (sometimes frenetic - I usually tire out before the end,as I did a couple of minutes ago, prompting me to sit down and write a review!), sexier. This is one of my all-time favorite recordings, and it belongs on a multi-CD player at a great party. Or, with equal enjoyment, "in the privacy of your home.""
A 1990 compilation with some useful education
Scott Shuster | New York, NY USA | 02/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Yalla!" = "Let's go!" -- The title implies that this is just another compilation of current Arab-world hits. Well, it used to be. But this album was done in 1990 and much has changed in the world of pop since then. However, even in 1990, this album is really much more than a simple compilation. It's a bit of an education, too. I would have bought it for the liner notes alone. Sure, you like this music, but do you REALLY KNOW what "Jeel" music is? What "Shaabi" music is? It's all explained here and there are little (very little) descriptions of each of the singers. As far as the music is concerned, it's divided into two groups, as Richard Gehr describes in his "Editorial Review" at the top of this list of reviews here on Amazon. I have a bit of a problem with the music in that it is all ten (or more) years old and the quality of Arab pop music production both jeel and shaabi (and Sudanese, too -- there's one cut of Sudanese pop) has greatly improved since then (I'm writing this in 2001). So, frankly, compared to what you hear on the great "Camelspotting" compilation (don't miss that one!!) and in current releases like the spectacular "Tamally Maak" album from Amr Diab (or the latest from Abdel Gadir Selim in Sudan), the 'quality' of this music sounds somewhat teeny bopperish by comparison. Not 'bad' -- just 'not as great.' Still I'm glad I bought it. By the way: the late '80s also seem to have been a period of very heavy westernization of Arab music. The characteristic 5-note scale of Arab music is completely absent from many (not all) of these cuts: Nearly every song is heavily influenced by the Western tonal model. Today's pop sounds significantly more Arab than most of these cuts."