Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Abd alah Helmey

I bought three music CDs when I was in Dubai not long ago, and they are all excellent. I found a disc by Nazem Al-Ghazali, an accomplished and celebrated Iraqi singer, who died in 1963. This is an evocative, vibrant recording of a concert that seems to have featured some of his greatest songs, judging by the enthusiastic reception of the audience to each new piece. The next disc was also Iraqi music, Munir Bashir and Omar Bashir, playing duets on the 'Ud, a traditional Arabic stringed instrument that is the predecessor of the western lute. This is beautiful music played by real masters of the art. The final disc was Egyptian. Taksim Kawala 3, by Abd alah Helmey. This is incredibly beautiful traditional music played on a wooden flute, but it is very difficult to find out anything about the music or the performer. The real problem with this CD is that the disc pressing is not very good, and the CD skips in the final two tracks, which makes it unplayable past that point. And the worst of it is that although I can find the recording on the internet from the people who made the disc, they only sell it in Egypt! I'll have to wait until I get another visit that way, unless anyone can bring me one back from their next visit...

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