#153 Sayid Henkesh Interview Part 2 May 2019
In part 2 we get closer to my question. Earlier this month Sayid had mentioned that there had been wonderful parties and weddings on Mohamed Ali street. Then at one point the government suppressed weddings in the street, so then they would have weddings inside in special clubs and buildings, and that this had not been good for the entertainers’ finances.
What were the parties and weddings on Mohamed Ali Street like before the repression? When did this repression and change happen? I was hoping to also know if the change was fast, and
in what years?
- 0:06 My Questions: Were there weddings on this street? Or did the people who worked in the weddings live on this street?
- 0:25 Sayid: The artists who used to work on Mohamed Ali used to have their own rituals in their life. Someone who has a baby will have a birthday party. So artist’s birthday parties
used to become official events. For example his father’s birthday was in October, different artists would make birthday parties in different months. Even his mother made these
- 1:20 My Question: I know, from what he said before, that this street is where people had their offices, they have the coffee shops for musicians, they live here… But is there any place
that they have the wedding here?
- 1:40 Sayid: Many! He points to the small street “harrah” behind him > There used to be weddings and birthdays there, for big artists. The people who came to the weddings were
sophisticated, by their clothing the women showed that they came from big (high class or wealthy) families.
- 2:55 My Question: I was asking to see if people would come to this area to have their weddings. Since I had understood before this was the area where the awalem lived and
had their offices. The actual performing would be in a place of the client’s choosing, such as in their home, or in the Azbekeya Garden district, Alfi Bey or Emad el Din streets.
The translator started telling me about current weddings now.
- 2:59 Sayid brings us back to his storyline “before I loose the idea in my mind.” And once again Sayid understands what part of the puzzle I don’t understand.
3:21 I ask again “he said they always had the weddings in the street, and then the government said they shouldn’t have weddings in the street, to have them in clubs.”
I was having a difficult time getting the translator to understand my question.
- 3:51 Sayid stops our conversation; “no, no, step by step, I always like to explain to her everything and don’t leave her lost.” “No, I will explain everything to her.
She is a lifelong friend.”
- 4:06 These weddings and birthdays on Mohamed Ali street were not just for fun. They were part of the artists’ income. Even within the artist’s community they would tip each other
back and forth.
- 4:29 To make a successful party they would invite popular performers. They would tip each other based on what they had been tipped, “collectivity” they would share back and forth,
receiving money at the time they need it.
- 6:06 Sayid recounts his three marriage experiences; The first was not destined to happen, with the second they did the contract and he bought the dowry but it did not complete, the
third is his wife still today. I joke with him that he is a playboy, he laughs and says “then I had Kareem (son) and he
fulfilled my life and made me learn discipline.” Then there was confusion and misdirection (which I edited out), and Sayid left the subject
of his family, and did not return to it.
- 7:03 (Now we are talking about wedding entertainment) We used to have duets that sing together. One duet of a man and a woman was called “Hommos” and “Halawa” – Halawa
was the best mawwal singer, her mawwal would make the whole wedding go crazy. She was better than Shafiqa, better than Khadra Mohamed Khedr. When she sang a mawwal
the wedding audience would go through different emotions of crying and laughing.