The sultan of swing: Egyptian percussionist legend serenades Williams Center

Hossam Ramzy performed in the Williams Center for the Arts on Tuesday night. He was accompanied by Emile Bassili, violin, Gamil Awad, keyboard and accordion, Fakhry, nay flute, and Said Fahmy, percussion. Ramzy played the Egyptian tabla. Ramzy normally perfroms internationally and has worked with many performers such as Jay Z, Shakira and Robert Plant. The group’s music style is Egyptian Baladi, a kind of Egyptian folk music, and blues.

The night began with a girl placing petals all around the stage and then the performers were introduced. The performance consisted of eight songs before intermission that included all of the other performers. For four of the songs, there were special guests to dance. One was a wedding ritual and the other three included solo belly dancers. Most of the songs were love songs. Each member of the group had a solo in at least one of the songs and was able to showcase their talent. Also, in between each song Ramzy engaged with the audience by commenting on the songs or spoke to audience members, while making everyone laugh.

After the intermission, Ramzy came on stage alone. This was the most he engaged with the audience. He played the tabla to demonstrate why he loves the instrument so much. Then he played short rhythms and had the audience clap when he paused. He then separated the audience into groups and made it a challenge to see who could be the most in sync. The audience was full of laughter. He then concluded by calling out the rest of the performers to perform the last song that he composed himself, “Diamond in the Rough”. The performance ended with a bow and wild applause from the audience.

written by Samantha DeMarse