Wednesday, November 02, 2005


In this new space, I share some of the music I love and can't live without, music that becalms and stimulates my waking hours, music that haunts my sleep. I couldn't do this without the amazing preservation and curatorial efforts of Samer Sawari; his turath project is a precious gift.

Each week or so, I'll feature a song I love. So let me begin at the beginning, with the patron saint of this and my
other home: the phenomenal Shaykh Imam Eissa. Shaykh Imam died ten years ago this past June 7, but I paid him no proper tribute then. It's well past time for that tribute now. The Imam-Nigm duo are among the handful of my major sources of inspiration, the ones who never fail me. I can't imagine life without their sublime art, their irreverence, their addiction to truth-telling, and their sheer beauty. My understanding of Egyptian history bears their indelible imprint.

The song is
"Ya Masr, 'oomi w'sheddi al-hayl," the spirit is irrepressible resistance, the 'ud is dolorous, Imam's voice is transporting, and there's dew on the roses. Aman, aman Bayram Effendi!

This maiden post is for the musical Zeryab and the inspiring Mohammed.