The Ayoub Sisters


THE template for the marketing of classical crossover girls always includes an element of ethnicity which at some point the recordings exploit under the banner of personal heritage. So it is with the debut disc from Sarah and Laura Ayoub, products of Scotland's music education system but with an Egyptian background. In fact it is tempting to suggest that the talented duo have painstakingly ticked all the required boxes on what is an astonishingly eclectic collection so that they can choose any direction they fancy for its follow-up.

Having first come to internet attention with their cover of Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk, it is joined here by tributes to recently deceased pop icons (Billie Jean and Mother's Pride) as well as tunes by Lloyd Webber, Johann Strauss, and, possibly, Henry VIII. Their Scots side is covered by the opening medley of the seven tunes that soundtrack New Year, Burns Night and Tattoos the world over, and the Middle East with the sole original composition, Call to Prayers (Message for Unity) inspired by the liturgy of the Coptic church, and a truly inspired version of Misirlou, arranged in tandem with an Egyptian folk song. If you only know that tune from the surf guitar version by Dick Dale at the start of Pulp Fiction, prepare to be amazed.

Keith Bruce