BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES

mudd revisited (original post was 4 years ago!):

Enta omry 1

we are dealing with the basics here: love and time.

“What we missed is not little,” sings Oum Kolthoum.

“Whatever I saw before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.”

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Oum Kolthoum – Enta Omri (86MB, 59 minutes)

A live version of one of the world’s classic love songs! In concert, Enta Omri could continue for hours. Ahmad Shafiq Kamil penned the lyrics and Mohamed Abdel Wahab wrote the music, which bypasses the ears to enter the heart directly.

West (Cornel not Kanye) and Ralph Waldo (Ellison not Emerson) compare jazz to democracy– individuals playing with and against a group dynamic, ready to improvise and comfortable with change. Imaginative, flexible, dedicated to making their abstract tools sing: a model of social organization.

Western orchestras, on the other hand, are conspicuously totalitarian: the fixed scores, the funny black suits, musicians forced to follow the strict leader at the top, utter suppression of individuality, etc.

I wonder what they’d say about this incandescent Egyptian, whose songs move her listeners with tidal force, leading orchestras (composed of the usual suspects plus Abdel Wahab’s new friend: the electric guitar) in swooning iterations of song and theme, reacting to audience response/requests, cycling through stanzas for hours (Americans wouldn’t call it progress but we are certainly going somewhere, the same words or notes arrive but they mean different each time), emotional eddies make the river flow. Her popularity & impact remains vast, nearly compulsory, undemocratic.

Thirty years after her death, Kolthoum still outsells many popular Egyptian artists. Take that, Elvis!

 

Ramadan’s over, Eid just came to a close. Today’s radio show – WFMU, 91.1 fm 7-8pm – will feature celebratory music from Muslim areas of Africa and beyond, as well as the usual helpings of new heat & decentertainment.

4 thoughts on “BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES”

  1. love the great lady, best break up music ever. I was at the oum kalthoum museum in cairo earlier this year, where they have, among other things, her rhinestone studded glasses and shoe horn on display….

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