3 – Rababa Qurashi #562

Rababa #562


Part 3 of 4 part interview of Sa’idi Rababa musician Qurashi


Qurashi is from a traditional family of Rababa musicians. I had seen him and his brothers in countryside weddings, playing in their family rababa band in the traditional way as well as in the new way as in a mixed band of other melody instruments for a foreign audience or in the government-sponsored saqafa (governorate troupe).

In this clip we learn more about the traditional repertoire for local performances


  • 0:07 Saad asks me if I know “Dikka” music. Dikka is a traditional bench used in homes, cafes, flexible seating for weddings, and can be put together to make a stage. I answer that no, I don’t know. But honestly as soon as I heard the music I knew the music, just not the name of the category.
  • 0:11 Qurashi and the drummers play a very familiar instrumental piece. I knew it in Cairo as either “Bamba” or “Bambi”.
  • 1:32 I tried to clarify what this music was. He had said it was “dikka” music and I was still trying to understand this reference. He did say that this was just a small section of dikka music – I hope to someday understand this better. Was it just one section of a progression (such as what they call “Ashra Baladi”) or is it just an example of a larger category of music. We could agree that this music was for Ghawazee.
  • 1:50 Delanna asks what “dikka” means, Wael tells her about the long bench. Still trying to clarify, I ask; “Dikka” means any music for Ghawazee? Or just this one’s name?” Saad answers; “This one”
  • 1:56 “Is there other music for Ghawazee?” Saad answers: “Yes” and asks Qurashi if they can play another Ghawazee piece?
  • 2:06 Qurashi and the drummers play a fast instrumental that I have heard them play for Khyriya Mazen.
  • 3:24 Interesting to watch the visual signals the musicians give each other to make a clean ending.
  • 3:29 “Warde Ful, Allah warak el Ful” (“On the leaves of the Jasmine”) Saad asks if I know it, I didn’t think that I knew this piece. But again, I didn’t know the title, but I was very familiar with the music.
  • 3:44 Qurashi and the drummers play and sing “Warde Ful, Allah warak el Ful”.
  • 5:46 How many musicians are in a Rababa band? They have 3 rababa musicians, a tabla drum and a duff (frame drum) as we see in this clip. There would also be a singer, who may also a rababa musician. The “Rais” (leader) is in the middle, because in modern times they have a microphone. The leader is nearest the mic.
  • 6:56 From Qurashi; “2 mics – one will give him “karar” and one for “Taksim” (which probably refers to setting the foundation.) This is new information that I only understood once translated, and will open new questions. To judge from the conversation that followed, this is not so clear to everyone.
  • 8:24 I asked what type of drum he prefers to be accompanied with; the Tabl Baladi, or the tablah (like that which is used in Cairo). Once Saad’s question was translated it was rather funny, and self-answered just by the way it was asked. Qurashi answered that he preferred this type, the tablah. The looks on their faces and the playing music over the conversation makes me wonder what else was going on or if I had said something wrong.

Location El Gezira Gardens Hotel with the permission of owner Mr. Gamal. With interview assistance by Saad Hassan impresario and Wael Mohamed Ali translator. Delanna as research assistant. Video by Sahra C Kent. July 13, 2015

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