- The Arabic Music Network - Content mp3 songs for free download
- Cairo opera house - A lot of information about the Cairo opera house, Cairo symphony orchestra, and other ensembles
- Cairo Symphony Orchestra - Includes calendar of concerts and tours; contact information.
- The Eighth Cairo International Song Festival (2002) - Information about the program, participants and sponsors. Includes reports and photos.
- Karem Mahmoud - "The Melodious Knight" of Egyptian Music - biography and analysis of his impact on the music of Egypt until his death in 1995. Includes audio files.
- Melody Entertainment - Music Videos You Control - World of music videos, video clips, TV, music hits
- Mounir, Mohammed - Official fan network offers news, profile, and forums.
- Selim, Khaled - Singer, musician and actor presents his biography and news; includes audio and video samples.
Cairo Symphony Orchestra - (Egypt) Calendar of concerts and tours; contact information.
- Amr Diab - Fan site with artist background, pictures, lyrics, and related links.
- Amr Diab Fan Network - Fan site containing news, MP3s, pictures, biographical information, a screen saver, and wallpaper patterns.
- Diab Online - Fan site in both English and Arabic, featuring discography, filmography, pictures, video clips, games, and interviews.
- All Music Guide: Farid el Atache - Informative but brief biography including details about his musical collaborations with Alabina and others.
- Farid El Atrash - A fan site dedicated to the great singer, composer, lute player and movie star.
- Om Kalthoum Songs - Om Kalthoum sang hundreds of songs with themes of love, patriotism, or nature, as well as Classical Arabic poems; this partial list provides titles, composer, lyricist, dialect -- and for some, the lyrics (in Arabic) and audio clips.
- Om Kolthoum - A collection of black and white photographs of the late legendary Egyptian singer Om Kalthoum, from the Om Kalthoum Society of Ain-Shams University.
- Om Kolthoum Songs - Lists 40 of Om Kolthoum's songs available for download or listening in real audio.
- Umm Kalthoum--Legendary Voice of the Arab World - Recounts the life and popularity of Egyptian songstress Umm Kalthoum, one of the most legendary singers of the Arab world; links to her photographs and songs; by Aida Hasan.
- Umm Kalthum - Legendary Songstress of the Arabs - This biography of the incomparable Egyptian singer places her life, career, and influence in the context of the times in which she lived; by Habeeb Salloum.
The region around the Nile is one of the oldest continually-inhabited areas in the world. Ancient Egyptian musicians are known to have played harps and flutes circa 4000 BC, and double clarinets and lyres from around 3500 BC. Percussion instruments were added to orchestras by 2000 BC. It is probable that no system of musical notation existed at the time, as none have survived. The music of ancient Egypt has not been documented, but some musicologists believe that the liturgical music of the Coptic Church is directly descended from ancient Egyptian music.
Modern Egyptian music blends musical traditions encompassing indigenous varieties as well as Turkish, Arabic, and Western elements. Arabic musical tradition is usually said to have begun in the 7th century in Syria during the Umayyad dynasty. Early Arab music was derived from Byzantine, Indian and Persian forms, which were themselves very influenced by earlier Greek, Semitic, and ancient Egyptian music. In the 10th century, Al-Farabi translated Aristotle's Problems (and Themistius' commentary on them), Euclid's Elements of Music and Ptolemy's Harmonics into Arabic. These works, foundations of Western music, became the basis for Arabic musical theory.
Like African music, Egyptian and Arabic music has strong improvisatory and rhythmic components. The base rhythm of Arabic music is the maqamat, which is formed by dum (downbeats), tak (upbeats) and rests. Arabic music uses microtones, or notes not present in the formal musical scale (half-flats and half-sharps). Arabic tones are divided into thirds, which makes their sound inherently different from most other musical traditions.
In Egypt, religious music is frowned upon, but still common in Muslim celebrations called mulids. Mulids are held to celebrate the saint of a particular mosque, and is related to the Sufi zikr ritual. A type of flute called the ney is commonly played at mulids.
Egyptian music began its recorded history in the 1910s, at the same time as composers like Sayed Darwish's first mixtures of traditional Egyptian and western musical forms. Since, some of the Arab world's biggest musical stars have been Egyptian, including Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Umm Kulthum, Amr Diab, Mohamed Al-Qasabji and Zakariyya Ahmad. Kulthum was especially popular, and is considered the most successful Egyptian recording artist in history. Most of these stars, including Kulthum, sang classical Egyptian music. Some, like Abd el-Halim Hafez, were associated with the nationalist revolution in 1952.
The 20th century has seen Cairo become associated with a roots revival. Musicians from across Egypt have kept folk traditions alive, such as rural Egypitans, Nubians, and Bedouins. New varieties of folk and pop have also arisen from the Cairo hit factory.
Sawahii music is a type of popular music from the northern coast, and is based around the simsimaya, a stringed instrument. Singers include Abdo'l Iskandrani and Aid el-Gannirni.
Bedouin music comes the deserts of the west, near Libya, and the east Sinai area. The mizmar, a twin-pipe clarinet, is the most popular folk instrument, and popular singers include Awad e'Medic.
Musicians from Upper Egypt play a form of folk music called saidi (Upper Egyptian). Metqal Qenawi's Les Musiciens du Nil are the most popular saidi group, and were chosen by the government to represent Egyptian folk music abroad. Other performers inlude Shoukoukou, Ahmad Ismail, Omar Gharzawi, Sohar Magdy and Ahmed Mougahid.
Nubians are native to the south of Egypt, but are now found in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt, and in Sudan. Folk music can still be heard, but the migration and intercultural contact has produced new innovations. Ali Hassan Kuban's jazz fusions have made him a regular on the world music scene, while Mohamed Mounir's social criticism and sophisticated pop have made him a star among Nubians and others worldwide. Hamza el Din is, however, the most famous Nubian singer, well-known on the world music scene and has collaborared with the Kronos Quartet.
Until the late 1980s, classical singers like Umm Kulthum were Egypt's biggest pop stars. By the middle of the 1990s, though, el gil and shaabi music had taken over, especially among young audiences.
Starting the late 1960s, light song emerged as the first modern Egyptian pop tradition. Often nationalist in tone, light songs were humorous and sometimes risqué, and dominated by singers like Aida al-Shah and Layla Nasmy, who were popular in middle-class communities. The working class youth of Egypt reacted against light songs and shaabi music evolved out of Cairo's poorest districts. Shaabi began entering the mainstream of Egyptian society in 1971, with the breakthrough success of Ahmed Adaweyah.
Adaweyah gained controversy for his lyrics, which were often humorous, salacious and highly critical of social rules and respectable society. By the 1980s, shaabi was being influenced by music from the United Kingdom and United States, as well as other Arab pop stars. Electric guitars, synthesizers and later, beat boxes, were integrated into the music, which is now highly-polished and meant for mainstream consumption. Today, the most popular shaabi stars are Hakeem and Shabaan abd el Raheem.
el Gil music arose in the 70s. It was dance-pop modelled after foreign rock and roll and pop music, and it included distinctively Egyptian characteristics. Hamid el-Shaeri, a Libyan immigrant, was the most influential of el-Gil's early performers.
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