Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Ibrahim al-Haggar (1922 - 2000) & Takht Ensemble - Classical Arab Music from Cairo, Egypt - WDR 1972


Here we present - as promised in our post on Salah Abd al-Hayy - broadcasts by Ibrahim al-Haggar, the great Maqam singer from Egypt. The recordings are from a concert that took place in the framework of a Unesco Festival in Cologne (and also Berlin), probably in 1972. The concert was never broadcast as a whole, but parts of it were broadcast by WDR between 1972 and 1975.
We received these recordings recently from our friend KF. Many thanks to him. He also send us notes on the pieces he had written down back then. See here the corresponding pages as a pdf file.
In the same year a wonderful LP by the same singer and his ensemble was published in the Unesco Collection "Musical Sources" under the title: "Taqasim and Layali - Cairo Tradition". The LP contained only one vocal track, all the others were instrumental pieces. The LP was later rereleased as a CD by the French label Auvidis in their Unesco collection. Now it is available as a download in mp3 and flac formats here. The booklet can be downloaded for free here.

'Ud player Gomaa Muhammad Ali


5 comments:

Kiran said...

Great and thank you so much for the links!
Smothsonaian Folkways have shared the entire UNESCO Collection online. 'Songs of the Earth' features Senior Dagars as well, apart from the other more famous one.

Guillermo said...

Dear Tawfiq,

Quite a beautiful album! So sober renditions, and that "je ne se quoi" of an old tradition... I have really appreciated it.

May I ask you a question, Tawfiq?

I have a friend who comes from Algeria. I told him about andalusian music, because I am discovering it thanks to your blog. He seems not to appreciate it at all... Schade...! But he added he loves Egyptian music. So I made him listen to this recordings. He made me notice they were pretty ancient compositions. And... he told me about Oum Kalthoum, wich he loves. "Do you know Oum Kalthoum, Guillermo?". "Indeed", I answered.

But then I thought: Tawfiq has never ever posted a track by her... So my question is why? Is it because her recordings are easily available in the market? Is it because you dislike her on aesthetics grounds? Could I know?

But just if I can know...

Thank you one more time Tawfiq. Please, go on with this blog.

Best regards,
Guillermo

Tawfiq said...

Dear Guillermo, thank you. The reason why I never posted anything by Oum Kalthoum is that I reall don't like her at all. I even have hardly anything by her in my collection. Her music is the kind which destroyed old traditional music. You might have read in my early notes to traditional Arab music that Oum Kalthoum and many other musicians after her completely eliminated the old traditional music. Especially in Egypt it is hardly existent anymore with extremely rare exceptions since the 1930s or 1940s. Before, as one can see from the huge number of still existing recordings, the old music was extremely wide spread and rich and there have been many outstanding singers.
Oum Kalthoums music is based on this old music, but became a kind of popular music and started a movement that ended up in the Arab pop music which is omnipresent now in all Arab countries. Since at least the 1950s practically everything in Egypt can't be called anymore classical Arab music. Singers like Salah Abd al-Hayy and Ibrahim al-Haggar - if there are any others like them at all - became the extremely rare exceptions. The latter had only a very reduced public in Egypt. Salah Abd al-Hayy still was appreciated during his lifetime and by some connoisseurs even today.
In other countries, especially in Syria, the situation was a little different. There the traditional music always stayed alive and had a public, though reduced in later decades. Good example is Sabri Moudallal.

Tawfiq said...

Your Algerian friend is the typical example of the contemporary Arab person since at leasst half a century: they got so used to the popular music of Oum Kalthoum and later pop music, that they became completely estranged from their own traditional music, so much so that they even can't relate to it at all anymore. A big pity.

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