[kids & graffiti on Mhmd Mahmoud near Tahrir]
Cairo, Egypt. A few yards down from this graffiti lies the city’s best English language bookstore, and a few yards beyond that, the former British army barracks turned into traffic circle elevated into iconic revolutionary space. Tahrir means Liberation.
With Egyptian presidential elections getting very close, now’s a good time to listen to Cairo, its sounds & music, its clamor and dignity.
Last Wednesday’s radio show with Arabic translator Humphrey Davies, recorded on location in Egypt, is now streaming, and it’s fantastic:
In it he discusses the sounds of Cairo from car-horn honking Morse code obscenities to the changing ways of voicing the divine; nostalgia for the 1940s and brand new sha3by lyrics; Nancy Arjam’s class-bending single and Oum Koulsoum’s ongoing appeal. We also touch upon the world of Egyptian publishing and get insight about Davies work as a translator (I just finished his translation of Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building, and it is excellent. Highly recommended.) including a preview into the amazing 19th ct Lebanese book he’s working on right now (which includes lists of “well known locations in hell” and “17 types of medieval glue”).
Special guest next week: Monterrey Mexico’s DJ Javier Estrada! Info soon.
[Former AUC library, Cairo]