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Hossam Hilal – Cidade De Mil Caras (2023) (álbum)

Hossam Hilal set to release new album “Cidade de mil caras (Live at Zaratan)”
The Egyptian multi-instrumentalist mixes the oriental and African elements with the psychedelic and ambient ones. In his new album, recorded live in Lisbon, he explores the common origins of traditional Arab and Portuguese music; in his own way.
The idea behind the album set to be released on July 15th started with fado guitar tracks on some Arab vocals and evolved into a journey of mixing influences and traditions. Hilal -who composed the music, performed percussion and electric guitar, as well as recorded and produced the record- collaborated with the Portuguese poet Dinis Lapa to translate the lyrics of three Arabic songs -sung by Mohamed Abd el wahab and Fairouz- and two parts of a poem entitled by the Algerian writer Dalila Si Larabi about her relationship with Cairo to Portuguese. He then worked with three Portuguese musicians; Joao Madeira on double bass, M-Pex on fado guitar and Patricia Domingues on vocals to create an experimental mix between both cultures.
“Bateu-me à porta do peito is a great trip. The vocals are really nice, the singer is reminiscent of Leila Bounous, it sounds like Hilal’s project is nicely taking shape, really good work,” said Jason Kohnen (Bong-Ra)

The process:
Hilal was an artist in residence during September and October 2022 at Zaratan arte contemporana in Lisbon, Portugal. The concept is based on Fado music origins, which include several Arabic references, especially in the vocals and the way lyrics are written; and also the Fado guitar, which is a direct descendant of the Oud. The Arab tracks that he chose,
which are “Daket ala sadry” (Bateu-me à porta do peito) and “Law kan qalbi mai” (E nem aceita a culpa) by Fairouz, and “Hann el wed” (Ouvi dizer) by Mohamed Abd el Wahab are already heavily inspired by Andalusian music. When making the initial trials for the tracks by
adding Fado guitar pieces that are performed in similar keys and styles, it was evident how well the timbre of the instruments and the broken rhythms mix together.
He worked on composing the tracks, using the same maqams as their respective Arab tracks, with intended spaces left for improvisation.
The two tracks based on the poem entitled “Cairo 90” are meditations on themes, one of them is composed by Hilal (Almas asfaltadas) and the other is an ode to the track “a singer’s childhood” (Cidade de mil caras). The last track “ Não creio que o zombo fará diferença” is the Encore of the concert, it is the only fully improvised track in the album.

Pre-save the album here
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For more information, album artwork, photography or to request interviews with the artist, contact


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