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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa


By Stacy Meyn
Published June 22, 2007

The Prince Of Sha’Abi
Bellydance Superstars

Sha’abi fuels celebratory Egyptian folk dances practiced in the countryside. It thrives in Cairo streets and nightclubs, where folks get down and sometimes political. The pace isn’t ridiculous, so sha’abi is perfect for bellydancing too. Joining (Mohammad al) Hakim, Hossam Ramzy, and Ahmed Adawia, Saad is the newest energetic member of the sha’abi set, and modesty does not become his grinning countenance. Billed as “The Young Prince of Egyptian Sha’abi,” Saad el Soghayar makes his US debut. Saad is enthusiasm incarnate, imbuing the songs with a sly humor and light romanticism, but also staying true to Egyptian tradition with instruments often mimicking the percussion to hypnotic effect. He revs things up Western pop-style, adding synths and horns in pursuit of sounds familiar to non-Egyptian ears. The only downside is that he’s running a couple decades behind, so unless you’re grooving on the ’80s revival, you might find cheesy spots.