Following on from the artists of the year list, it’s time for the top ten albums of the year, as decided by our users. One important caveat before proceeding though; the albums need not have been released in 2015. This is a list of – through a combination of actions on the Dandin website – the most popular albums of the year. And here they are:
No surprise here, as Zig Zag’s collection of 2015 releases was the most popular album of the year. To call his fans devoted is an understatement and does them a disservice.
2- Electro Chaabi – Hussein Sherbini
A sound magician, an advanced musical being, Sherbini went out on a limb with his sophomore release and returned with something very special. Taking risks galore, this album speaks volumes about the kind of talent found in the Middle East.
For us, the artist discovery of the year. The Dublin-based Palestinian musician and vocalist has given us hours of boundless joy whistling (badly) to her tunes. A must listen, she is quality through and through.
4- Hawas- Hawas
The eponymous debut of the band that rose from the ashes of Maghna Khan, Hawas are an eight-strong heady mix of Pop, Tarab and much else besides, with an impressive vocalist up front. They have just released a new Christmas-inspired EP, Just Like Winter, with Shereen Abdo.
5- Ghaby Ghaby Ghaby – PanSTARRS
Great album which you can read about at length here. Behind it is one of the best artists to come out of Egypt, Youssef Abouzeid, who is also part of the triumvirate behind NMR pedals.
The exceedingly popular band’s 2015 album release cemented their place at the top of the Egyptian Arabic- Rock pile, and also introduced an electro-pop element to their sound.
7- Rainbow Escalator – Portrait Avenue
A 2014 release but still ever so current. Portrait Avenue are part of an Indie wave coming out of Alexandria that is chock full of great bands and musicians, and frankly giving more established cities in the region, like Cairo, Beirut and Amman a bona fide run for their money.
Syrian Hip Hop artist Bu Kolthoum rounded off the year with a fantastic release that focussed on the turmoil of his home country. The 15-track album is a skilfully laid out map of pain and heartache.
Promising and intrepid, Gawy are everything we like about the DIY ethic of independent musicians in the Middle East. Their collection of tracks are a blend of poetry and singing that come to life onstage.
An end-of-year release that we’re so glad to see on this list. The debut solo effort of electronic producer Ismail Hosny is a foray into the world of noise by a consummate artist and a master of sound. Simply brilliant.