― Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 26 December 2002 21:08 (seventeen years ago) link
― Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 26 December 2002 21:14 (seventeen years ago) link
(I think Lata Mangeshkar is still numerically ahead.)
― rs, Thursday, 26 December 2002 21:14 (seventeen years ago) link
I should just get the book, shouldn't I.
― Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 26 December 2002 22:40 (seventeen years ago) link
― Amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 03:32 (seventeen years ago) link
Not particularly recommended: Habibati Man Takoun, Ya Malik an [Malikan?] Kalbi, Maddah el Amar.
A lot of people can't stand him and consider him a creation of Mohammed Abdel Wahab meant to compete with Farid el Atrache when Abdel Wahab could no longer sing; but Oum Kalthoum said good things about Abdel Halim Hafez, so it's hard to believe he wasn't a good singer. However, I personally don't think he's on the same level as Oum Kalthoum, Asmahan, Abdel Wahab, Farid, and Fairouz.
I think Oum Kalthoum acted and sang in about five films. (Yes, get the book: it's pretty good.) She was generally not considered as effective as a film star as she was as a live concert performer. Asmahan was much more comfortable as an actor, and she also had the glamorous looks for it. (On the other hand, she was pretty terrified of live performances. It would have been very interesting to see how the competition between these two would have unfolded had Asmahan not died at 24.) If you're interested in Asmahan, btw, the recently released EMI Arabia BBC recordings of Asmahan are a good (though the sound quality is spotty). Farid el Atrache had a long career starring in movies, and I'm pretty sure that Abdel Halim also appeared in films. I think they pretty much all did, to one degree or another. Plus there were some less known, but still pretty prominent, singers who also had combined singing/acting careers.
I'm glad to see this thread was recovered. I was a little worried.
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 8 January 2003 04:12 (seventeen years ago) link
― Amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 10 January 2003 18:00 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 11 January 2003 17:30 (seventeen years ago) link
― Shady Amin, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 23:32 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 15 January 2003 00:56 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 30 January 2003 16:53 (seventeen years ago) link
― Amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 31 January 2003 00:20 (seventeen years ago) link
Tonight I picked up:
Mohammed Abdel Wahab: Daret al Ayam [I don't like his singing here, and I'm not that big a fan of his oud playing anyway, though the title song has some great moments, compositionally speaking; but you're better off with the Oum Kalthoum recording, I think. Actually, even that isn't among her best, but parts of this song are quite memorable.]
Farid el Atrache: Hikayet Gharami
Asmahan & Farid [two different CDs, one blue, one pink]
I'm really happy I didn't miss out on the chance to pick up the Asmahan & Farid CDs. The sound quality is surprisingly better than it is on the Club du Disques Arabe "Les Archives de la Musique Arabe" Asmahan CDs (for the songs that overlap). In particular, her singing is much clearer here. Mind you, this is not fantastic sound, just relatively better. These disques [unintended typo! how did I do that?] contain the songs that Farid wrote for his sister. I wonder what sort of originals Club du Disques Arabe was working from.
The store where I bought these also had some Latin CDs on sale for cheap. I picked up a Victor Manuelle compilation for &6.99. I think it was probably worth it.
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 31 January 2003 00:50 (seventeen years ago) link
― Amateurist (amateurist), Friday, 31 January 2003 01:08 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 31 January 2003 01:14 (seventeen years ago) link
From Vol. II of the "Anthologie de la Musique Arabe" Oum Kalthoum CD series: Kam Baatna (1926) 7'25; Dzikra Saad (1926) 4'30; Ya Assiya Elhagr (1927) 6'48; Ala Anni El Hagr (1927) 6'00, etc.
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 31 January 2003 01:37 (seventeen years ago) link
*Unlike about a dozen great Arabic music audio sites I had bookmarked long ago, which have either disappeared, no longer work, or now charge money.
― A Music Consumer, Tuesday, 4 March 2003 02:18 (seventeen years ago) link
my favorite part of the album comes in the intro to the first song where there's an electric guitar playing the lead melody. it's got a clean tone, and almost reminds me of either surf music (yes i know dick dale was heavily influenced from his lebanese upbringing) or some of the guitar leads in a Morricone western. i guess i like this now because it's the most western, recognizable element of the music. something i can grasp onto. it's also neat because, the guitar being fretted, you can't get many of the semitones you would be able to get from a violin or oud.
btw. Rockist: you're A Music Consumer and DeRayMi? i always thought there were two big salsa lovers on the board, and now i find it's just you?
― JasonD (JasonD), Monday, 31 March 2003 19:42 (seventeen years ago) link
The music (by Mohammed Abdel Wahab) and lyrics are both pre-composed, but there is room for melodic, and other types of improvisation, by Oum Kaltoum. Also, Oum Kalthoum frequently would repeat verses or longer passages in response to audience requests to hear them again (or simply in response to her sense of the crowd's mood); and part of the challenge would be to sing the same thing again, but change it in effective ways. I don't think that her orchestra would have had much difficulty staying in sync with her improvisation, since (a) they seem to have had certain conventional little sound squiggles they could fall back on and (b) they worked with her so extensively, and would have included musicians who had been with her for decades, probably.
Keep in mind that this is late in her career, and her voice is not as flexible or powerful as it was when she was younger.
Some other recordings that include electric guitar: Alf Leyla, We Marret el Aym (sometimes: Daret el Ayam, etc. etc.), Inta Omri.
("A Music Consumer" was an abortive name change, and yes DeRayMi is an earlier screen name, changed in a futile effort to stop putting out so much information that could identify who I am in real life.)
― Rockist Scientist, Monday, 31 March 2003 21:28 (seventeen years ago) link
― H (Heruy), Tuesday, 1 April 2003 08:03 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 1 April 2003 12:43 (seventeen years ago) link
If anyone wonders who I consider to be not-dry oudists, I give my usual examples: Riad el-Sounbatti (whose CD of taksim is once again unavailable, so I've missed out for now), Mohammed el-Qassabji (though I haven't heard much of his solo playing at all), and Farid el Atrache (despite his over-reliance on the same formula for most solos).
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 2 April 2003 01:40 (seventeen years ago) link
― JasonD (JasonD), Wednesday, 2 April 2003 01:46 (seventeen years ago) link
I'm more willing to criticize someone like Simon Shaheen (or Marcel Khalife's oud experiments) because I think I have a handle on the tradition they are operating out of; but in the case of Hamza el Din, I don't think I have enough of a feel for Sudanese music, or for the distinctive Nubian ethnic tradition.
I'd be interested in hearing more though. The only CD I have by him is Music of Nubia. What have you heard and what would you recommend?
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 2 April 2003 02:01 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 2 April 2003 02:02 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 2 April 2003 02:33 (seventeen years ago) link
― t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Wednesday, 2 April 2003 07:43 (seventeen years ago) link
what i like about it is it's sparseness and feelings of melancholy and introspection. for most of the disc it's just him on oud and voice with the occasional percussion or clapping. everything is real slow and dark (just like i like my salsa, heh).
when i bought this cd, i was really feeling Sandy Bull and Peter Walker (a little less so). since then i've gotten more into Fahey and Robbie Basho. but this music really reminds me of these players. a man and his guitar. it's very intimate.
what i like the least about this is that it was recorded and produced by Micky Hart. i guess this isn't really a bad thing in itself, but it almost sticks a tag of "New-Age-World-Music" on it.
my tastes might be a lot different than yours RS. not that i don't think what you think is good is good, but that i really, really enjoy non-western musics, but from a western perspective. i really like stuff that is a foreign interpretation of western music. Brazilian tropicalia, Afro funk, Ethiopiques, Italian psych, French rock, Krautrock. I'm starting to get into Salsa because it reminds me of funky-jazz. (ugh, i reread this and feel like a total bandwagon scenester dork)
― JasonD (JasonD), Wednesday, 2 April 2003 08:17 (seventeen years ago) link
and yeah, Shaheen does have an old Wahab album but this is a new project.
re Hamza el din - try Waterwheel his first album just rereleased by Nonesuch, his last album "the wish" is also pretty good
so why do you not care for Sudanese music? or perhaps, who have you heard as that might be part of it.
― H (Heruy), Wednesday, 2 April 2003 13:10 (seventeen years ago) link
H, I haven't heard very much Sudanese music, and at this point I no longer remember who it is that I have heard. I am afraid I can't really describe what I don't like about it, but I think it might be that it sounds as if it's going to do what the Egyptian/Syrian/Lebanese/Gulf music I especially like does, but then instead it goes and does something else, leaving me disappointed.
I don't like jazz all that much, so Shaheen + Jazz isn't really a draw for me. In fact, in general, I don't like to hear Arabic music mixed with jazz (not that there's anything inherently wrong with it).
JasonD, Since so much salsa has been recorded in New York, I think it's fair to say that salsa is an American form of music (and Puerto Rico is, of course, kind of/sort of part of the U.S.). No need to defend your taste. I sometimes laugh at the "expert" persona I am wearing on this thread. You might like Abdel Wahab in particular, among Oum Kalthoum's composers, since he tended to make the most blatant use of various western styles. There are a lot of great electric keyboard sounds in this music from the 60's and 70's, but unfortunately, they often only appear in the introduction and maybe occasionally later on as a little added timbrel (sp?) variety.
― Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 2 April 2003 14:11 (seventeen years ago) link
― t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Wednesday, 2 April 2003 21:34 (seventeen years ago) link
>it sounds as if it's going to do what the Egyptian/Syrian/Lebanese/Gulf music I especially like does, but then instead it goes and does something else, leaving me disappointed.
This struck me as its so different from how I listen to music -enjoying similarities between e.g. Ethiopian & Indian, but also enjoying how they then go off in such completely different directions. I'm trying to think of what might cause that equivalent diappointment for me (only exxample i can think of is thinking "Under Pressure" is coming on the radio when it is "Ice Ice Baby" but that doesn't really work)
What in particular about this style grabs you to create that loyalty? We talked about rai on another thread but do you listen to music from Turkey? Armenia? I'm curious.
(was inspired to look up the Fadl album and was reminded on the website about the fact that 3 million (!) ppl attended Oum's funeral.)
― H (Heruy), Friday, 4 April 2003 08:24 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 4 April 2003 12:19 (seventeen years ago) link
The Vocals: Somehow the vocals in Turkish and Persian music that I've heard often feel either too restrained or too harsh, but Arabic vocals, at their best (a sneaky qualification), seem to me to strike an ideal balance. I like the sense that the vocalist is deliberately reeling out the singing.
The Instruments: I don't think there's a single traditional Arab instrument that I find bothersome. The oud, the kanun, the ney, and all the percussion typically used, sound "just right" to me. (The biggest problem for me in most of the Arabic music I like is the imported western string section, even if it is used differently.) Some Persian instruments are jangly in a way that I dislike (and I think some of these are used as well in Turkish music). Even one type of drum used in Persian music has this sort of rolling quality that I don't like (the percussive equivalent of the string instrument jangliness I hear elsewhere).
Improvisation: This applies especially to Oum Kalthoum, I suppose (and definitely not to Fairouz), but I enjoy the improvisatory element in Arabic singing. Maybe I have simply not listened to the right examples of related musics with an improvisatory aspect.
Rhythms: I'm not sure I have any problem with Persian and Turkish rhythms, but, I am very sure that I like Arabic rhythms, and I'll be damned if I can explain why, but I feel as though I am being re-organized by them, in a beneficial way. The rhythms in Oum Kalthoum's songs aren't usually the main draw for me (though I've gotten to like them over time, after taking a while to even notice that something was going on with the percussion), but I like belly dance rhythms; the fantastic rhythms in folkloric and some pop Syrian and Lebanese music; and much of the rhythm in Iraqi and Saudi music. Okay, one thing I can think of is that there's a certain way the rhythms seem to fall back on themselves, and then recollect themselves and keep moving. Also, they often contain a very long cycle of beats.
Melodies, modes, and structure in general: This is harder for me to talk about. I don't really have a way to describe these differences. The modes are pretty much exactly the same (from one middle eastern tradition to another), taken as a series of tones, but there must be some sort of difference in some of the other conventions surrounding how the modes are used. I don't know.
I think a lot of it is just that of all the modal, microtonal musics I've been exposed to, Arabic music is the one I've had the most exposure to, so it's become my "home base" in a way (at least for modal, microtonal music).
I'm pretty keen on some of the Greek music I've heard, but have had trouble finding anyone to guide me into more of that. Incidentally, I did start a thread about Turkish music here.
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 4 April 2003 23:20 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Friday, 4 April 2003 23:36 (seventeen years ago) link
Something which I think was in the back of my head earlier was your coment on not liking jazz and Arabic mixes. I think perhaps I read (projected) a little more traditionalist approach into that than was meant as I was thinking ‘bout how ubiquity of jazz in 20s & 30s led to developments in many local music scenes from adoption of different instruments to new approaches to folkloric and that it is a building block for a lot of stuff (tho you do note above you don’t like the use of western string sections)
hmm, have to think and come back to this
― H (Heruy), Saturday, 5 April 2003 11:44 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 5 April 2003 12:23 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 5 April 2003 12:30 (seventeen years ago) link
BTW great thread, I haven't got round to anything since the cassete but I'll try to get some more during the easter break (I haven't investigated good places to get 'world music' in london but I'll look).
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 5 April 2003 18:25 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 5 April 2003 18:31 (seventeen years ago) link
even though sun ra has done a lot with jazz, you know, that's where he starts from but I get what you're saying.
Though I still think you might get to like some jazz in the future.
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 5 April 2003 18:34 (seventeen years ago) link
Contemporary Egyptian dance music is not going to give me this. I like dance music (that is: music for dancing), but the old popular classical music is largely non-dance music for me.
Odd that people don't seem to talk that much about variation in tempo with a performance (or recording) as a value similar to variety of dynamic range. (One exception would be fans of prog.)
(Julio, once I have listened to all he Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald I want to listen to, my familiarity with the standards they sang might make me more receptive to instrumental jazz of all types. Not that that's why I want to listen to them (I want to listen to them because I like them--well, I know I like Billie Holiday, and I think I could like a lot of Ella), but it occurs to me that it could be a byproduct of doing so.)
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 15 May 2003 22:47 (seventeen years ago) link
― robin (robin), Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:21 (seventeen years ago) link
― robin (robin), Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:24 (seventeen years ago) link
Oh wait, you're shifting gears. El Hob Kolloh. Let me see what that is. That's very very late and not representative. If it's the one I'm thinking of, she's sounds like she's on her last legs. It has some creepy organ sounds in it, but I can't recommend it. It's more represenative of Abdel Wahab's compositional style than of Oum Katlhoum's singing abilities.
What else is there?
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:27 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:28 (seventeen years ago) link
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:30 (seventeen years ago) link
― robin (robin), Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:36 (seventeen years ago) link
― robin (robin), Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:37 (seventeen years ago) link
Yam Saharny is a great song in its own right, I just am not crazy about her version (which is the original).
I would recommen Hob Eh more over the other two, but I realize that download time may make that impossible.
I'm listening to El Hob Kolloh now and she sounds a bit out of place in the midst of this music, though it has its moments.
― Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 15 May 2003 23:45 (seventeen years ago) link
Anyone seen 'Looking for Oum Kulthum'? I wasn't that big of a fan, Shirin Neshat makes it into a meta-movie that is to a large part about herself, but the recreations of scenes from Kulthums career are really good.
― Frederik B, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 11:51 (two years ago) link
Haven’t seen it.
― curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 15:26 (two years ago) link
Hello Rudipherous and anyone else who can be of help.
I've got a note that I should start investigating Umm Kulthum at this point, but not sure where to start. What I need is a reasonably-sized (say 2CD) retrospective covering her whole recording career, and (very important!) dates of recording for each track. Does such a thing exist?
― mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:42 (one year ago) link
I missed Frederik asking who else had seen the film, but I didn't like it very much either for the same meta reasons as he did. An actual biography would have been nice.
― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:59 (one year ago) link
From what I remember, trying to find decent cds is a total crapshoot if not outright impossible not knowing arabic. I ended up buying MP3s and finding random downloads mostly for my collection, which by the time I gave up searching ran about 12-15 acceptable recordings which deliver the goods (and I think 3 of them I have on cd, all excellent, and all by the same label with colorful arabesque artwork and no liner notes or recording info.) I still listen to her sometimes, her work remains interesting over time. IMO the sweet spot is any given live recording from 1950s through maybe mid-60s that runs 30-50 minutes. That stuff is invariably sublime though also invariably lo fi. Later recordings from the 70s are slicker and sound really good and hi fi but are completely ruined for this somewhat discerning listener by goofy sounding harmonium and sometimes electric surf-guitar sounding oud (or some kind of twangy electric stringed non-guitar anyway). The surf-oud and harmonium isn't part of the sonic equation earlier thankfully!!! The mid-period (I guess) longform live stuff I dig is all violins/cellos and percussion, and thoroughly righteous.
Early period for me is the studio stuff, very short tunes for 45rpm of little interest, and later would be the gross harmonium live recordings.
― liam fennell, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 17:01 (one year ago) link
Thanks for the tips Liam, and
my collection, which by the time I gave up searching ran about 12-15 acceptable recordings which deliver the goods
― mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 17:08 (one year ago) link
Sure, check back here in a day or so. If you want I'll try to email you all of them as onedrive links. They're all different tunes, each performance its own long mp3, and I think all essentially radio bootlegs anyway because that's how this stuff was originally disseminated.
I just searched Oum Kalthoum blog and re-found the first tune/download of hers I listened to extensively, Esal Rouhak, and the download link is still active somehow! It's a pretty awesome performance and tune, and the rest I treasure are along these lines, so give it a shot:
― liam fennell, Thursday, 11 April 2019 12:15 (one year ago) link
That would be brilliant, thanks!
Checking this one out now - this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umm_Kulthum#Selected_discography - says it's from 1970, which is very late indeed.
― mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 11 April 2019 21:40 (one year ago) link
Listened to this last night, really good thanks, I didn't realise the length of the tracks was because each one was like an album and with so much drama and variety.
The previous thing I had was a 1924 recording which isn't really up to scratch, even for 1924, so good to get it now.
― mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 12 April 2019 09:30 (one year ago) link
Cool, you're welcome! Yeah, I guess that's what I mean by the goods; the songs when she was exclusively a live performer are all like miniature operas or something, long sonic tapestries that unfold and develop one or two simple ideas. There's always some really neat musical motives that gets put through a ton of variations and which she ornaments and illuminates with her voice. She's kind of a force of nature, really!
I just sent an email to the address connected to your profile with a onedrive download link to a folder with all the ones I have, including the later ones which I dislike solely because of some questionable instrumentation choices. As for the later ones, the tunes are still good, and the quality isn't hazy at all, it's very crisp/clear. You might dig them more than me, so!
― liam fennell, Friday, 12 April 2019 12:51 (one year ago) link