#1596 Nassar Nye 4
This is part 4 of a 6 part interview of Sa’idi Nye musician Abdul Nassar Hassan Abu Zeid. He lives in El Qurna which is on the Nile River’s West Bank from Luxor in Upper Egypt. In this section Nassar continues answering questions about Sufi music, instruments and the musician’s work. Then we continue with some specifics on the Refa’i “Sayara”. Lastly the men talk about some behaviors that Nassar said were aspects of a Sufi show.
0:11 Nassar mostly works in the Sa’id. He has played in Cairo for Al Hussien Moulid, Moulid Al Refa’i, and Moulid Sayeda Zainab, but this is as a volunteer. The music would be the same because he would be with the Munshid (singer) of his area.
1:15 Q; Will the music be different from one Sufi group to another? The differences will be in the performance, the poems, and the melodies. The professional singer would be able to work with all Sufi sects.
2:02 Q; Aszmara asks about the Sufi instruments. A; The most used is the nye or kawala, and the violin. The oud would be in addition to other instruments. Aszmara asks about the qanoon; qanoon is rarely used. Nassar says there are 4 types of drum; The main drum, another drum that will work with the singer’s performance and music, 2 riq, and sometimes the large duff.
3:29 Q; One of my threads of research is on the “naqrazon” drum that hangs around the neck and played with two rasps. (I have seen them in the Abu Hagag Moulid here in Luxor. Also many people, including musicians, say that no one plays them anymore. Also some people interchange the terms “naqrazon” and “noggara”, to others these are two separate instruments.) A; At the beginning of the zikr event there will be a procession, termed “Sayara” or “walkers”, to the place of the zikr; they have repetitive chants, naqrazon drums, tabl baladi drums, flags of the Sufi sect and swords;. “It was the way in the old days to spread the news that they are going to the Moulid together.”
6:13 Interesting search for the translated word “cymbal”; Hassaballah instrument, bigger than sagat (finger cymbals), cups. They were used to proclaim that “God lives” along with the naqrazon in the procession. As entioned before the playing of naqrazon is declining.
6:55 Once the group of walkers arrive, certain specific groups put on a show. They could put nails through their cheeks, they could lay on the ground and put a sword in their mouth so that the sheik would walk on the swords. Even with all these things they are not harmed.
7:50 This is to entertain and cheer the audience. The nails do not cause them harm and they do not bleed. Nassar offers that the person is so pure with God, he feels no pain. Wael offers that it is with training. Also mentioned was the Sufi eating glass, and snakes. Sufi are known to control snakes, they don’t hurt the snakes and the snakes do not hurt them. Often a Sufi will be called to rid a home or place of snakes.
9:10 Nassar; At the moment of transfiguration sometimes those people who are honest with God have certainty.
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