Egyptian soprano Fatma Said is well on her way to a promising, and rarer still, interesting career. After a string of early career success, she makes her recording debut at 29 with El Nour , “light”, featuring art songs by French, Spanish and Egyptian composers alongside Egyptian folk songs and popular songs from the Middle East.

Fatma Said: El Nour

The album opens with Ravel’s song cycle Shéhérazade , a familiar item save for the incorporation of the ney , a Middle Eastern flute played by Burcu Karadag. Complementing Malcom Martineau’s pictorial pianism, it’s an intelligent addition which grounds Ravel’s Orientalist fantasy in something more culturally specific. What strikes you first is Said’s startlingly beautiful voice, its timbre an appealing mix of the crystalline and husky....

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.