Shakira's new album to feature 'Egypt's Ambassador of Rhythm' Hossam Ramzy

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'Egypt's Ambassador of Rhythm' Hossam Ramzy is to feature on the eagerly awaited new album by international superstar Shakira. Entitled 'She Wolf', the album has its worldwide release in October 2009.

the Egyptian percussionist who rock stars call when their tracks need spicing up a little

The 'Hips Don't Lie' singer invited Ramzy to her studio in Nassau, Bahamas, to play percussion and provide a Middle Eastern arrangement to the track 'Why Wait (For Later)', described by Billboard magazine as "a dancefloor scorcher by way of Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'". In fact, it was Ramzy's work with Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on their mid-nineties 'No Quarter: Unledded' reunion which lead to Shakira asking him to collaborate with her on her new album: "She said that this was her most inspiring album of all time, so she asked me to arrange one of her songs", says Hossam.

The new album, 'She Wolf', is the eagerly awaited follow up to 2005's 'Oral Fixation, Vol. 2'. Produced by The Neptunes producer and N.E.R.D. star Pharrell Williams, Shakira has described the album as "very electronic and dance-oriented, club-oriented", but as with her other albums it will incorporate "elements from different cultures. So you're going to find Indian, Africa, Colombian, Middle Eastern influences, but always with the synthesizers as a dominant element."

Himself no stranger to multiculturalism, having released over 25 albums of world music and Egyptian dance, Hossam was excited at the prospect of working with Shakira: "She is a very generous, talented, energetic and very enlightened artist whom I admired since the first time I heard her. Being half Colombian and half Lebanese, she blends various genres of music and cultures together in a fascinating melting pot that touched the right chord in people's minds and hearts. And as a matter of fact, there is a strong belly dance element in the song as you will be able to hear. I was very pleased with the result and I hope that it will be well received by Shakira's fans worldwide."

As a pre-eminent figure in belly dance music, Hossam is enthusiastic about Shakira's use of the art form in her work, describing her as "a formidable dancer who has brought the art of Middle Eastern dance to the foreground of loved and appreciated forms of dance. We discussed how she managed to bring it in together with her Colombian, Lebanese, rock & pop as well as R'n'B influences, and how the art is growing rapidly to the point that now, many studios are offering 'Shakira Style' belly dance classes."

With this project Shakira becomes the latest in a long line of superstars to enlist Ramzy's talents, along with the aforementioned Led Zeppelin stars, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Jay-Z, Ricky Martin, Chick Corea, and many more. He has been described as "the Egyptian percussionist who rock stars call when their tracks need spicing up a little" (Songlines magazine), and is currently at the top of his game, having just released 'Ruby', his latest album of Classical Egyptian dance on the ARC Music label.


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Chris Tomsett
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