Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Simon Shaheen

  • The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab [Axiom, 1990] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab [Axiom, 1990]
I couldn't tell you how "profound, prolonged, and widespread" Wahab's influence on Middle Eastern music has been, though as a singer and film star as well as Om Kalsoum's arranger, he clearly played a huge role in the secularization and Europeanization of the Koranic repertoire. This great-sounding tribute by a Palestinian Christian oud/violin virtuoso, scholar, and orchestra leader has the apposite high-middlebrow tone. But unlike so many brainy projects, it pushes my pleasure buttons as well as my duty buttons. Some people get off on Ennio Morricone. I like my soundtracks more exotic. A-