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Orient Express

fri 9 apr 2021 23:00 

Egyptian Classical Islamic Religious Vocal Art. Ramadan Special.

A special episode in the occasion of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. An hour of religious singing in a classical Egyptian tradition that reached its highest peak between 1920s and 1980s. The singing is performed ” a capella” by a soloist sometimes supported by a choir of a few men (called Betaana).

The vocalist must have a deep knowledge of the traditional Oriental musical Maqam system, creativity for improvisation and a great vocal capacity. In Egypt this was always seen as a true form of vocal art that unfortunately started declining in the last decades.

Typical forms of this vocal tradition in Egypte include:

  • Ibtihalaat ( singular : Ibtihaal) :  A poem with typically a supplication or praise of God or his prophet. Almost totally improvised by the performer (no specific prewritten melody nor rhythm (nonmetrical) .
  • Tawashih ( sing: Tawshih): A poem set to melody that the singer sings with his choir (Betanaa) and improvises in between the verses/melody lines. This classical form that needs a group of well-practiced vocalists has almost disappeared.
  • Azaan : The Islamic call to prayer.


Mohamed Omran (1944-1994)  A legendary (blind) vocalist that is still highly regarded  among musicians and singers for his vocal power and creativity in improvisation (live in a mosque in Cairo in the early 1990s):


For more of this vocal art,click here  and more is here.




1. Al-qalbu fi sahati-t-tawwabi qad sajada Live – Mohamed Omran (1944-1994) 03:40
2. Adhaa An-nur (Tawshih)  1930s record  ) – Ali Mahmoud 03:13
3. Bezekr Mohamed tahhaya El-Qoloub ( Tawshih) 1960s recording) – Kamil Yusif El-Bahtimi 08:00
4.Yawmun Agharru Wa-Laylatun Gharra’u & Rasula an-nur (circa 1953 Live in Cairo mosque ) – Taha AlFashni  12:00
5.Al-laylu ‘aqbala wa-l-wujudu sukunu (Ibtihal)  – Mohamed Omran 04:17
6. Ana ya ‘ilahi ma ‘abadtu siwaka (Ibtihal)  – Mohamed Omran 03:15
7. An-nuru ‘ashraqa fi-l-wujudi jamilu (Ibtihal) – Mohamed Omran 4:00
8. Bijalali dhatika fa-l-jami’u yuti’u ((Ibtihal) ) – Mohamed Omran 03:40
9. Jalla man Anshak (Tawshih,  Live session) Mohamed Omran 06:32
10. Ahlan Bi Badri Altim (Tawshih)  Ali Mahmoud
11. Al- Mesaharrati – Fouad Haddad/ Sayed Mekkawi 04:20


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