Maurice Louca is one of the most exciting artists in the alternative music scene across the Arab world today. Two years in the making, Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (Salute the Parrot) lands as his most original work to date. His trademark whirlwind of percussion-based rhythms seamlessly intertwines with layers of jarring yet coherent compositions and improvisations, rendered by a host of Arab and international guest artists.
Following years of collaborations and inconspicuous touring across Europe and the Arab world, Louca has become renowned for his powerful live shows. But those who have experienced earlier iterations of Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (Salute the Parrot) at one of Louca’s performances will hear an album that is far more complex and hard-hitting.
Inspired by many influences, from psychedelic to Egyptian shaabi, Louca shatters the confines of musical and cultural labelling with eight genre-defying tracks. Like a virtual voyage between the charged intensity of confined spaces and the tranquil vastness of open landscapes, the album lays out a trajectory where beautiful and mesmerising fragments sparingly punctate the full-blown pounding episodes.
For the album artwork, Louca collaborated with Egyptian visual artist Maha Maamoun, whose videos and photographs frequently explore the construction of images in mainstream culture and the various ways in which these images are personally re-appropriated. In her photographs, Maamoun toys with our perception and shifts our expectations through subtle interventions. Benhayyi Al-Baghbaghan (Salute the Parrot)’s artwork aptly conveys the influence of Cairo’s paradoxical subcultures and the microcosmic soundscape of Louca's work - in three subtle variations, one for each of the album’s formats.
released November 17, 2014
Alaa 50: Vocals (Tracks 3/7/8),
Mohamad El Mahalawy: Keys (Tracks 1/3/4/8),
Alan Bishop: Sax (Track 7),
Sam Shalabi: Guitars (Track 6),
Tamer Abu Ghazaleh: Buzuq (Track 2),
Shaker Ismael: Rababa (Track 3),
Bashar Faran: Bass (Tracks 4/5/7/8),
Mahmoud Waly: Bass (Tracks 2/6),
Kasem El Sudani: Bass (Tracks 1/3),
Tarek El Shabah: Drums (Track 2/5/8),
Chris Michael Shaheen: Drums (Track 7),
Khaled Yassine: Percussion (Track 6),
Mahmoud Abd El Khalek: Percussion (Tracks 4/6/8).