Nassar Nye #1595

                                        #1595 Nassar Nye 3


This is part 3 of a 6 part interview of Sa’idi Nye musician Abdul Nassar Hassan Abu Zeid.


He lives in El Qurna which is on the West Bank of Luxor in Upper Egypt. In this section Nassar starts discussing Sufi music. We start discovering that Sufi music in the Sa’id differs from that in Cairo.

  • 0:05 Wael asks; What is the difference between Sufi music and other types of music. First he mentions that not a lot of maqam are needed, although later more can be introduced depending on the skills of the munshid (Sufi singer). He says that there is a track of 3 or
    4 rhythms.
  • 0:47 Q; Is there repetition to the use of the rhythms? Sometimes they stay repeating one rhythm for a half an hour.
  • 1:12 Aszmara asks if in Sufi music do they change rhythms in a fixed order? Nassar; The rhythms are 3 types, but the music depends on the poem or the munshid performance.
  • 1:59 I have noticed there is Sufi music without vocals in Cairo. In contrast, It seems that Sufi music in the Sa’id is based on vocals. I have also noticed in both Cairo and Upper Egypt there is Sufi zikr music that is more of a chant without accompaniment of instruments. Here I try to ascertain if Sufi music can have melody without singing, or singing without playing melody instruments. In Cairo often Sufi music is played by Nye, frame drum, and tura (large finger cymbals.) When I asked about this, Wael asked where I saw this I suddenly couldn’t remember where all I saw these instruments. My first thoughts were of the Maqam and Dammah where we see performances during JtE-3. I suggested that this is possibly just liberties taken for stage performance. They agreed with “In a stage performance there is freedom for anything.”
  • 5:11 “But live performances have certain rules”. (It is these rules that I am trying to understand.)
  • 5:23 Here in Upper Egypt there are no female munshid. In Lower Egypt there are female munshid.
  • 5:47 I start to answer Aszmara, but Nassar asks to continue. Zikr parties could be made to celebrate the birth of one of the Saints (Walli). It could be a private party, for example, or for going to the haj, or his son’s marriage, or for the sake of God. So there are differences, in Saint’s parties there will be a group praise (mahadeen) in a circle together in one place.
  • 6:54 Private parties are for one person. Moulid zikr (praising group) will gather from all around Egypt. But in the private party the person will request a certain artist, with an invitation and payment.
  • 7:42 Q; In moulids the singer will perform for free? A; Sometimes he will participate for free, sometimes he will charge half the price of that donated.
  • 8:15 Q; We had mentioned maqam before, what maqam are used? A; Sometimes there are singers with good capabilities that use several maqam. They have an amount of art and tarab that make him able to digest any maqam and not fear anything, can perform
    anything and any melody and not be limited to any maqam.
  • 9:00 Q; Then what are the other maqam that are used? (I had heard Saba and started to ask about it, but it was not part of the question asked.) A; The Oriental maqam that are used, for example, rast maqam, maqam bayati, maqam hejaz, maqam el kurd, these types that make your soul feel the tarab. For example, Saba will make you feel the sorrow more than western maqam. The western maqam don’t work in religious praise singing (inshad).

Location Gezira Garden Hotel top floor celebration area, in the West Bank of Luxor, with the permission of owner Mr. Gamal. With interview assistance by Saad Hassan impresario and Wael Mohamed Ali translator. Aszmara as research assistant. Video by Sahra C Kent. May, 2018

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