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View Poll Results: Al Oud by Hamza El Din
Excellent 3 100.00%
Good 0 0%
OK 0 0%
Disappointing 0 0%
Awful 0 0%
Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-23-2012, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Al Oud by Hamza El Din

Another album of exotic music which has won a recent FAIR album club poll.
If you ever get tired of mainstream music, this mysterious backwater may be about as far away as you can get, in terms of style, place and time. Hamza, stp and the FAIR club invite you to turn off your mind, relax and float downstream...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stp View Post
Hamza El Din - Al Oud: Instrumental & Vocal Music of Nubia (1965)



Bit of Oud music this time from an Egyptian born musician who apparently played with The Grateful Dead at one stage.

Any opinions about this album, this artist, this genre or this instrument ?
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Excerpt from Hamza El Din 1929-2006

Born in Toskha, Nubia, in Egypt, Mr. El Din began playing oud while studying engineering at the University of Cairo. He also studied at the King Fouad Institute of Middle Eastern Music. Learning of plans to build the Aswan Dam, he quit his engineering job in Cairo and set off to preserve Nubian music before the people were dispersed. With his oud, an instrument unknown in Nubia, he traveled from village to village by donkey, gathering songs. He was playing in traditional Arabic style; it wasn't until his music acquired a distinctly Nubian flavor that it caught on.

"One day I felt the oud had a Nubian accent,'' Mr. El Din told The Chronicle in 1995. "I played for people in my village and they were mesmerized. I knew I had something.''
While it was an interesting choice to document Nubian music on an instrument that was unknown to the region, the recordings presented on this album are wonderfully soulful and portray a natural affection for the music. There is a real warmth to Hamza El Din's vocals and the tracks that didn't quite grab me were probably the instrumentals. I wouldn't say every track is a gem but there are enough here to make this a worthwhile addition to any world music collection.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Reading stp`s description of how it was made, I felt well-disposed towards this album from the start, and I wasn`t disappointed. The music may seem simple -just one guy singing and strumming - but in its slow-paced way, there is plenty of variety, with Hamza El Din really ramping it up a notch on the last track by allowing some handclap percussion too.

So, not what you`d call a broad musical palette here, but that`s not what this album is about. In fact the album`s two elements are neatly represented by the first track, Childhood; this starts with a captivating oud instrumental lead-in, but by the end of the track it`s Hamza`s vocals that win your attention.

I felt there was a special quality to Hamza`s playing and singing; he doesn`t show off, instead, what stp calls "a natural affection for the music" comes shining through. I see that you liked the vocal tracks best, stp, although I was more taken with the two melancholic instrumental tracks, especially the 11-minute Grandfather`s Stories - a track so languid that I wondered a couple of times whether it was finishing or not.

Altogether, I enjoyed this collection of songs so much that I`m voting "excellent" and will be checking out some more of Hamza`s albums. But first I checked up a bit about Nubia :-

Spoiler for You too can be an instant expert on Nubian history !:

One of the sadder things that can happen to a culture is to be overshadowed by a more powerful neighbour. *NUBIA IS THE FIRST AFRICAN CIVILIZATION - and dates back to 8 000 years B.C. according to this article, but then three thousand years later flashy Egyptian newcomers turned up to steal its thunder. Interestingly, because Nubians were black Africans and Egyptians were of a Mediterranean racial type, archaeologists were more comfortable labelling every acheivement Egyptian and downplaying Nubia`s contribution. The ultimate ignominy was in 1960 when Egypt built the Aswan dam, flooding Hamza El Din`s birthplace and other Nubian villages. No wonder that his album of traditional music from the region has a mellow and wistful feel to it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Different album but I came across these lyrics and just thought they were beautiful.

“The world shines about me, luminous as the moon, smiling like a rose, and a sweet benediction flows through everything existing. How beautiful life is. I marvel at people who are not in love with life. You, my girl, are beautiful, and your beauty, like the beautiful thought of peace, belongs to the eternity. Detest war and destruction. When you go to the riverbank, and the sun sets in the evening, the waters of the river will be rippling softly, and from a distance, in the twilight, you will see white sails. A song of the boatman will come from there. 'Today no suffering, no suffering.' The world shines about me, luminous as the moon, smiling like a rose.”

— Desse Barama (Peace) by Hamza El Din
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quite enjoying Hamza El Din's album Eclipse from 1978 (reissued 1988).


Last edited by Stephen; 02-16-2013 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^ Wow, that`s another quiet, hypnotic track from Hamza. There`s something about the gentle tone of the oud that I really love !
I also followed up on your original recommendation, stp, and found an album called Lily Of The Nile;he made it in 1995 but to me it could just as easily be side two of the Al Oud album that you told us about. One beautiful track is 25 minutes long !

Yes, those lyrics are soothing too; a very worthy message and some great imagery, with the riverbank, the twilight and the sails...
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's another track from the Eclipse album. It's probably my favourite and another semi-epic .

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, another exquisite, long song - you`ve certainly sold me on the Eclipse album. Thanks.
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