Cairo Nightclub, The Tapes no. 1
This program is the first of 2 episodes dedicated to special music that was only available in local cassette tapes market in Egypt: the music of Ahmed Adaweyah, the superstar of the Cairo night life folk song in the 1970s and 1980s. He started as a waiter and an amateur singer of the Cairo urban folk music tradition. A tradition first based around the old Mohamed Ali street in the centre of Cairo where people went to hire musicians, belly dancers and entertainers for parties and weddings. Due to social, cultural and economic changes next to his immense talent; Adaweyah became by the end of 1970s the biggest Cairo folk singer ever.
Adaweyah’s commercial success, flexible character and singing talent assured him of having the best musicians around him. This in combination with his simple but direct streetwise texts, the strong and spontaneous very local “dialect” (as in African American accent of the blues for example) has delivered a separate and rare combination. A combination very appealing not only to the “working class” or those partying in belly dance nightclubs, but also for traditional urban folk music and mawwal (vocal improvisation) enthusiasts. For the bourgeoisie and upper middle classes in Egypt, however Adaweyah continued to be seen as a sign of degeneration of society and taste.
The music sometimes reminds of the South East Europe gypsy music. Notable instruments and musicians are the Accordion (played by M Asfour and Hassan Abou El-Seoud), The wonderful trumpet of Samy El-Bably, a fiery percussion (Darabouka, Riq, sagat, mazhar..etc) section directed by the great Hassan Anwar, violin by the likes of Mahmoud El-Gersha & Abdou Dagher, Ney (Arabic flute) by Sayed Abu Sheffa and the (guest) appearances by saxophonist Samir Sorour. All among the best players of their era.