Sharayet el Disco is part of an important mission for Moataz Rageb aka Disco Arabesquo. The Amsterdam-based Egyptian DJ has been collecting cassettes from Arab-speaking countries and its diaspora for many years and has amassed a vast collection of Egyptian music concentrating on the 80s, the sound he grew up listening to. His goal has been to search for these rare sounds and make them known to a new vinyl-hungry audience.
During this decade, the rich Egyptian music industry, which had seen such stars as Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Warda take the Arab world by storm in the 60s and 70s, was going through a new phase and the cassette format was the cause. As Rageb notes in his insightful liner notes: "This invention changed Egypt’s soundscape in the 1980’s and, for its youth, it opened the door to a search for a new cultural identity."
This radical change enabled many young musicians and producers to spread their music directly to consumers duplicating cassettes themselves. A new vibrant music scene erupted in Cairo blending their sound with trends coming from the US and Europe including, of course, Disco, Soul and Funk. The cream from this scene was soon picked up by the most daring labels, including Mohsen Gaber's Alam El Phan, Sout El Hob and Americana. ‘Sharayet El Disco’ gives you a glimpse of these great tracks which - for most of them - were only ever released on cassette.
The set is a unique insight into the diversity of the Egyptian Disco sound, from the pulsating Disco of "Hezeny" by Hany Shenouda's Al Massrieen band to the boogie of Simone's "Merci," via Firkit El Asdekaa's tongue-in-cheek "Eklib el Sheriet" ("turn the cassette to the other side"), produced by legendary Egyptian musician Ammar El Sherei. The music is both inventive and funky and played with both Western and Arab instruments proving that quality of Egyptian music. Carefully selected by Disco Arabesquo and remastered for vinyl, the set, designed by young Cairo-based designer Heba Tarek, includes a colour insert featuring Moataz Rageb's detailed liner notes and pictures of the original cassette artworks.