Similarly to labels like Analog Africa and Soundway Records, Ghent based Radio Martiko has been digging into the vinyl history of the Middle East and Africa for a number of years now.
Our first introduction to the label is 'Zamaan Ya Sukkar: Exotic Love Songs And Instrumentals From The Egyptian 60's', a compilation of exotica-classics distilled from old singles released in the nineteen sixties on the Egyptian Sono Cairo label, founded in the nineteen fifties by Mohamed Fawzy, but suddenly nationalized during the Nasser regime. In the track list fascinating Egyptian interpretations by, among others, Salim El Baroudi, Sayed Salamah and Soad Mohamed, reminding yours truly the one time of Maurice El Medioni's "piano oriental" work ('Musiqaa Nahr El Hob' by Taha Al-Ugayl), and elsewhere more of songs from a forgotten Bollywood soundtrack ('Musiqaa Dhahab Ellayl', 'Nafourak Ya Ghazal') or an Egyptian version of surf rock (opener 'Fatouma').
Another Egyptian musical treasure Radio Martiko dug up is 'Music From The Soundtrack 'Respectable Families''. This time featuring the work of Abderrahman El Khamissi, during his lifetime author, poet, musician, composer, director, actor, journalist, radio producer and political activist, or as his family summarizes it: "...thirty men living in one body that didn't sleep!". El Khamissi composed the psychedelic songs on 'Music From The Soundtrack 'Respectable Families'' for the soundtrack of the 1969 film 'Respectable Families', a story of a mother who prefers to see her son marry a girl from a wealthy family so she can pay off her debts. The songs on this EP originally appeared as two singles on the aforementioned Sono Cairo label, and now, some thirty years later, thanks to Radio Martiko are released outside of Egypt for the very first time!
Two examples of Egyptian music as you'll probably never heard it before!