Filed under: Egypt
Omar Khorshid is where all this insanity started for me, although I did not know it at the time.
Back in 2005, while I was in San Francisco for my job, a friend of mine took me to Aquarius Records, where I picked up a disc called “Radio Morocco“. Although I had purchased a few other compilations of 60’s and early 70’s music from India, Asia and Turkey, as well as discs by Ananda Shankar and Takeshi Terauchi in the past… This was different. What was this music even called? I had no idea. So, to the internet. I started Google-ing everything I could think of. Eventually, I stumbled on some information about Omar Khorshid.
Omar was originally from Egypt, where he got his start playing with Umm Khulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and Abdel Halim Hafez. He was the first person to introduce electric guitar into Arab music. Apparently, his brother Elhamy tried to imitate his sound but was supposedly not as popular as Omar.
Besides being a musician, Omar was also an actor as well as having scored thirteen motion picture soundtracks. In 1971 he won the Premier Prize at the Film Festival of Tachkand for his music for the ﬁlm “Abnati El Aziza” (“A Teen’s Life”). His sister is also a famous Egyptian actress, Sherihan Ahmed Abd El Fatah al-Shalakani.
In 1972, he moved to Lebanon where he recorded a handful of solo albums. He returned to Egypt after the civil war began in Lebanon in 1975. Upon his return, he starred in “Hata Akher El-Omr” (“Until The End of Lifetime”) along with Nagwa Ibrahim and Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz.
Omar delivered his most noted performance opposite Madiha Kamel in “El-Arrafa” (“The Fortuneteller”) in 1981. He played a police officer who sympathizes with a student arrested for her political opinions. Two months after the critical acclaim and box-office success of the film, Khorshid was killed in a car accident. One of the more popular rumors was that he was having an affair with a married woman whose husband arranged the accident.
As of March 2007, actor and singer Sameh Youssry is trying to convince members of Omar Khorshid’s family to authorize a biographical movie in which Youssry would star.
The fact that there is not a shrine (or at least a website) dedicated to the man is a mystery. He does not even have a listing on Wikipedia. What little of his solo recordings that are in print and available on compact disc are not exactly his best material, but are will still worth tracking down.
Since the initial posting of this article, Hany Zaki has started work on a website dedicated to Omar Khorshid.