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Orient Express

fri 22 sep 2023 22:00 
Composer: Sayed Darwish

Egypt, The music of Sayed Darwish.


This month marks the centenary of the passing of the Egyptian composer Sayed Darwish (1892-1923). A figurehead of Egyptian popular music truly regarded as a ‘composer of the fatherland’ for Egyptians. One that also enjoys a great enduring popularity in the Arab world Especially in the levant. Darwish was born in Alexandria in 1892 and died young at 31 years  on September 15th, 1923. He had a short but intensive career during a turbulent period at the end of the First World War. A period that was accompanied by a wave of Egyptian national self-consciousness and culminated in the 1919 national revolution against British rule.

1919 Revolution (22) | Rare photos from the 1919 Revolution … | Flickr

Sayed Darwish work captured these crucial historical moments and expressed the national sentiment against the British occupiers, the passion and ambitions of the Egyptians at that time. He created musical theater and songs that gave voice to Egyptians from different backgrounds. He composed some traditional Arabic classical pieces (Dor and Muwashshah) but in most of his oeuvre, he combined Western instruments, harmony and musical theater forms, a mix that became extremely popular among the population because of the socially critical and patriotic themes accompanied by the accessibility of the music.

Many songs live on to this day and have become “”folk “tunes or anthems, including the current official national anthem of Egypt.

We will listen to various performances and pieces, including old 78rpm recordings on which he sings. We will listen to older and more recent covers of popular Egyptian & Lebanese singers and Arabic ensembles.

Also Dutch musicians such as Tony Overwater, Mike Fentross and Maarten Ornstein, who have created an interpretation of Darwish’s work.


For Part II of this special Click here.

Tracks list (all music by Sayed Darwish).

  • Te’leet Ya Mahla Nourha  Ud instrumenta – Said Issa      02:05
  • Oum Ya Masri (Sayed Darwish circa 1920) 3:31
  • Ala Ad Elleil Maytawel – Duet Karim Mahmoud & Ahlam 1951 6:56
  • Khafif Errouh – Egyptian Arab Music Ensemble 198s                 2:49
  • Ya Ushaq Ennabi (Wedding song) – Egyptian Arab Music Ensemble (198s 3:18
  • Wallah Testahel Ya qalbi – Sayed Mekkawi                                    2:36
  • Eshayyalin (Shed El hezam/ a song for luggage carriers – Sayed Darwish 192x
  • Eshayyalin  Rima Khcheich (w/t Tony Overwater en Yuri Honing) – 2008
  • Zoroui (Instreumental) –  Ziad Rahbani (1976)
  • Zorouni (song) – Hamid Mursi (195x)
  • (Muwashshah) Tef ya dourri – Beirut Oriental Ensemble (2006) 3:36
  • (dor) Ana Hawaeet – Souad Mohamed (circa 1964) 12:00


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