Guy Schalom & the Baladi Blues Ensemble
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Guy Schalom & the Baladi Blues Ensemble

Rugby, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | INDIE

Rugby, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2006
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"Press Quotes"

Press Quotes:

"Guy Schalom is one of the most versatile and interesting percussionists working
in the UK today." fROOTS

“A masterful album...” Songlines

"Schalom's mastery of this music is as out of this world as his mastery of the
darabuka, both of which are breath-taking... I want some of that fuel!" Rich
Rainlore

“One of my WOMAD festival highlights.” Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3

“A great party band!” Simon Broughton, Songlines Editor-in-Chief - Various


"Baladi Blues Review"

A new musical world awaits…

Dance music, but not as you know it…

Percussionist and producer Guy (Schalom) has brought together a number of notable musicians to issue this collection of Baladi, introduced as a set of urban Egyptian folk and improvised oriental dance music. Transporting the listener directly to the heart of Cairo and Alexandria, such recordings as the traditional Bint Al Balad and the riveting original Tabla Taxim justify repeated plays and open up a fascinating new tonal and rhythmic world to the uninitiated.

Musician.
- Musician Magazine


"Guy Schalom & The Baladi Blues Ensemble At Dingwalls, Camden Town Sunday, 20th May 2012"

Any Guy Schalom gig always has to be something especially exciting, and last Sunday's Guy Schalom & the
Baladi Blues Ensemble at Dingwalls, Camden Town, launching his latest album, Baladi Blues 3, clearly was
never going to be any different.

How does one describe the two sets by Guy Schalom & the Baladi Blues Ensemble? From the first bar of
the first set, the Baladi Blues Ensemble was an explosion of super-high octane power that simply blew one
away. Although the arrangements were slightly different from the album that was being launched here,
necessitated by the slightly different line-up, this did not detract from the quality of the music, the playing,
or the ultra-high energy of this outstanding performance in the slightest.

Whatever it is that was driving the power house engine of the percussion of Guy Schalom's darabuka,
Adam Warne's riq and Aly El Minyawi's doholla and duff, I want some of that fuel! Their precision timing
and time keeping and immense energy, and the sheer beauty of their performance, simply blew the mind
and took the breath away.

Equally remarkable perhaps was Sheik Taha's quarter-tone accordion, a here not too frequently heard
variant of the instrument that was also a sheer delight. Taha's playing was just breath-taking and
immensely beautiful.

Also exceptional was the alto sax of Ahmed el Saidi, with a beautiful voice almost reminiscent of Turkish
clarinet at times. (Sheik Taha and Ahmed el Saidi are two of Egypt's most esteemed master musicians.)
This was only eclipsed by the breath-taking flamenco guitar of Glenn Sharp and the amazing, beautiful
voice and oud of Abdul Salam Kheir.

The material came from the album being launched of course, Baladi Blues 3 - The Art of Baligh Hamdi.
Hamdi was a prolific composer - as well as one of the most esteemed - especially from the 1950s to 70s,
writing for singers such as Oum Kulthum, Abdel Halim Hafez, Layla Murad, Shadia, and others. 'Baladi' is a
form of popular, frequently fast-paced Arabic urban dance music, often based around folk music.
One of the pieces stood out in particular, Baladi Andalus, for coming so immediately recognisably from the
Andalusian music tradition of North Africa and (once) Iberia, i.e., the former Arabic Empire of Al Andalus.
Andalusian music itself was a joint creation of medieval Arabic and Jewish musicians, based upon classical
Arabic music. The outcome of this collaboration was, and indeed still is, just glorious.

It can hardly be emphasised sufficiently just what a glorious, outstanding performance Guy Schalom & the
Baladi Blues Ensemble delivered. The sheer excitement, exuberance and high energy were palpable, and
the absolute excellence of it had to be experienced. Schalom's mastery of this music is as out of this world
as his mastery of the darabuka, both of which are breath-taking to say the least.

An evening of absolute delight and purest joy, Guy Schalom & the Baladi Blues Ensemble at Dingwalls was
one of those gigs that is impossible to ever forget. As fresh as it was refreshing, the Baladi Blues Ensemble
were totally mesmerising, and brilliant. This gives a whole new meaning to 'high octane!'

© 2012 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved. - Rich Rainlore


"Baladi Blues Review"

Guy Schalom is one of the most versatile and interesting percussionists working in the UK today.

This is a vibrant music often associated with belly dancing and Baladi Blues will enliven any party. However, with four of the finest exponents working together there is much more to it than that…the performances are outstanding, being fresh and compelling as well as technically superb - and for all the high energy the total effect is actually one of delicacy.

Schalom's percussion manages simultaneously to hold everything together and provide a focal point, as if he were play­ing rhythm and lead at the same time. His playing has a rare lyricism, such that one feels that each beat is personally tailored for the moment - there is no bombast and noth­ing routine or perfunctory here, only an almost understated creativity.

Tabla Tastic!! is an anthology of Egyptian percussion patterns…. Schalom's humour and lightness of touch lift it from being a mere teaching aid but students of the darabuka tabla will find it invaluable.

Chris Williams.
fROOTS
- fROOTS Magazine


Discography

Baladi Blues RELOADED - Remixed (2014)

Baladi Blues 3 - The Art of Baligh Hamdi (2012)
Baladi Blues 2 - A Tribute to the Masters (2011)
Baladi Blues - Egyptian Street Music (2007)
Tabla Tastic!! (2007)
Bellydance Diaries Soundtrack (2006)

Photos

Bio

100-Word Biog:

The Baladi Blues Ensemble plays the urban Egyptian dance music known as Baladi.

Nominated for BEST GROUP in the Songlines Music Awards 2013, they were featured in the BBC documentary "Bellydancing and the Blues" (which Guy himself presented) and were a hit at WOMAD 2013.

Their music reflects the fast-paced, urban sounds of 1950s Cairo, whilst emphasising the uncompromising artistic vision of band leader Guy Schalom.  

In the Baladi Blues Ensemble, Guy unites three of Egypt's most celebrated master musicians: legendary quarter-tone accordionist Sheik Taha, saxophonist Ahmed El Saidi and master percussionist Aly el Minyawi and features frame drum wizard Adam Warne.

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The Baladi Blues Ensemble plays the urban Egyptian dance music known as Baladi.  

Nominated for BEST GROUP in the Songlines Music Awards 2013, they were featured in the BBC documentary "Bellydancing and the Blues" (which Guy himself presented) and were a hit at WOMAD 2013.

Soulful accordion and saxophone improvisations, energised by powerful Egyptian rhythms give the Baladi Blues Ensemble its distinctive sound.

Their music reflects the fast-paced, urban sounds of 1950s Cairo, whilst emphasising the uncompromising artistic vision of band leader Guy Schalom.  

Leading the group is renowned percussionist, dancer and record producer Guy Schalom, described as "one of the most interesting and versatile percussionists working in the UK today" (fROOTS).

Born in Israel to an Egyptian Jewish family, Guy Schalom is well known for his work with Klezmer-revivalists the Klezmer Alliance, the Klezmatics, Frank London and David Krakauer as well as Egyptian stars Natacha Atlas, the Musicians of the Nile, Hijazy Metkal, Mahmoud Fadl and Suraya Hilal.

In the Baladi Blues Ensemble, Guy unites three of Egypt's most celebrated master musicians: legendary quarter-tone accordionist Sheik Taha (Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ahmed Adaweya), saxophonist Ahmed El Saidi (Ali Hassan Kuban, Shams Hussein, Salamat) and master percussionist Aly el Minyawi (Shakira, Natacha Atlas). The band also features frame drum wizard Adam Warne.

Guest vocalist and oud player Abdul Salam Kheir features on their latest release: "The Art of Baligh Hamdi" and toured with Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Shakira and Juan Martin to name a few artists. 

They have released six CDs to date.  Their debut, Baladi Blues, was described by fROOTS magazine as "Outstanding, fresh and compelling as well as technically superb". 

Band Members