Filed under: Egypt
Modern Egyptian music blends musical traditions encompassing indigenous Egyptian 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 Arabic music was influenced by Byzantine, Indian and Persian forms, which were themselves heavily influenced by earlier Greek, Semitic, and ancient Egyptian music. The tonal structure of Arabic music is defined by the maqamat, loosely similar to Western modes, while the rhythm of Arabic music is governed by the awzan (wazn, sing.), formed by combinations of accented and unaccented beats and rests.
From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, particularly among the large youth population of Egypt. Egyptian folk music, a direct descendant of ancient Egyptian music, is also popular. It is played during weddings and other traditional festivities. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Egyptian music was a way to communicate social and class issues.
Magdy El Hosseini, as well as Omar Khorshid and others, were part of an Western music scene in Egypt from the mid 60s influenced by The Beatles and other beat music of the time. Both Magdy and Omar were in bands that performed in hotels and night clubs. But by the late 60s Omar switched from playing Western music, to more traditional music.
When Omar Khorshid joined the backing orchestra for Umm Kulthum, he had Magdy join as well. Then later, when Omar recorded with the Al Massiyah Orchestra that backed Abdel Halim Hafez, he brought Magdy with him again. Like Omar Khorshid, Magdy tried to find a wide audience outside of Egypt, playing in Lebanon, Kuwait and Bahrain. But after the death of Abdel Halim Hafez, Magdy’s only appearances were on Egyptian television.
Thanks to Hany Zaki for the translation and the invaluable information.
Catalog number 87-74083 on Moriphon Records of Egypt, recorded in 1974.