Hamza El Din, pioneering oud master from Sudan, performs mesmerizing music based on traditional Arabic forms.
As the Moors swept across the northern stretches of the African continent, they left in their wake a rich legacy of music, myths, and legends. Performing brilliantly on the oud (the Arab precursor of the lute) and on the tar (the ancient single-skinned frame drum of the upper Nile), interwoven with his hypnotic voice, he has singlehandedly created a new music, essentially a Nubian/Arabic fusion in line with both traditions and informed by Western conservatory training. This album includes an original composition,”The Visitors,” which he composed in Baghdad in 1965, in Iraqi Arabic with Egyptian melody and Sudanese pentatonic.
Other tracks feature his arrangements of traditional songs celebrating a first wedding (“Ollin Arageed”); sending a river-pulley worker’s greetings to his beloved via a pelican (“Helalisa”); and paying tribute to the incomparable Egyptian songstress Um Kalthoum (1902-1975). “Mwashah” is a classical piece from the time of the Moors in Spain, traditionally used to train voices.