Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

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Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

Post by Hafiz » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Well maybe.

Egypt had an influence on western popular music, and jazz in particular - but probably not quite what you would think. There have also been influences the other way and there was also a time when great Egyptian singers tried to integrate their musical traditions with western innovations…but that was before 1952.

The following story is mainly about how Egypt ‘influenced’ western jazz and related music – it’s a bit of a stretch to make out a strong argument of actual consequences.

Western composers and singers claimed an Egyptian tag to their music but I think their music was probably more connected with US influences although its interesting to speculate that the Egyptian connection might have been useful to them – maybe just from a marketing point of view.

After King Tut, Egypt became a craze not only in the visual arts but also music – particularly jazz…although the latter is not widely examined. There were also ‘influences’ before Tut.

Here are some examples of Egyptian ‘tags’ in western popular, mainly jazz, music from before and after milord Carnarvon (really the Rothschild/Jewish money that funded his folly):

From 1910 ‘Egyptian Rag’ which owes little to Egypt but quite a lot to Mozart. It makes the point that a ‘rag’ is an Arabic musical term taken wholesale into Jazz and shows an interest before the dig.

Berlin’s, In My Harem is a silly thing from 1913 with syncopation and some vague oriental/Arabic references:

Also before Carnarvon here is a bizarre piece of very early recorded jazz – ‘Cleopatra had a Jazz Band’ from 1917:

A rather westernized Egypto-vaudeville “Mummy Mine” from 1918

“On the Streets of Cairo’ from 1919 by Art Hickman’s Orchestra:

More vaudeville/dance hall than Egypt is My Cairo Love from 1919 played by the All Star Trio:

Eddie Cantor sang this before milord discovered the dead one (1921)

“Old King Tut” from 1922 (quick off the mark) in a very low key by the incomparable Sophie Tucker sung by her, as ever, in ballet position 1:

Here is ‘King Tut’ from 1923: it’s a piece of cheap stuff – much like modern Egyptian Government tourist marketing…but, unlike the recent stuff it works.

The ‘Snake Hips’ from 1923, by The Georgians with a grafted on ‘oriental’ flavor:

Here is a rather odd, but very Arabic rhythm, Jazz song from about 1925 (downloaded by the usual lunatics on YouTube with geriatric IT skills):

The German’s got into it too with the Excellos Five jazz band - Lady of the Nile – 1925 - not a good recording.

Ted Lewis from 1929, his ‘Egyptian Foxtrot’:

Here is an interesting version of Egyptian Ella from 1931 by the Ted Lewis Orchestra which is worth listening to:

Here is another Egyptian Ella – ‘she got so fat she went off to Egypt and found herself attractive’ – a few current Western fatties in Egypt could relate to that. Its from 1931 with limited Egyptian themes but strong syncopation:

More generally Arab, and with more Jazz/gypsy influences than Arab ones, is the Sheik of Araby by (French?) Django Reinhardt from 1937

Sidney Bechet is all the fashion at the moment, did a bit of ‘Egyptian’ in 1941:

Moving to the 50’s and 60’s and a more abstract Jazz, artists like Art Blakey, with their black consciousness/back to Africa interests adopted Egyptian titles to their music whilst the actual musical influences aren’t clear to my ears. You be the judge with The Caravan from around ’63
Last edited by Hafiz on Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: Egypt Changed World Music

Post by Horus » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:20 pm

Fixed your last image for you Hafiz :up
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Re: Egypt Changed World Music

Post by Hafiz » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:25 pm

Thank you Horus - this 'effort' was on the edge of my technical competency.

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Re: Egypt Changed World Music

Post by Horus » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:32 pm

No problem, I wasnt sure if you had intended to have all the videos showing in the thread or just the links as there are so many. :o
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Re: Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

Post by Hafiz » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:35 pm

Part 2

Running the other way, there is even an opinion that US diplomacy used jazz to seduce the middle east to the American camp in the 50’s and 60’s: http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/features/ ... lace_13642.

Here is an example of things going the other way in 2008 when the Smithsonian sponsored an American Jazz performance in Egypt. Typical of them and of their great century long job in preserving the history and traditions of Jazz. This is a doco on 2008.

It continued the tradition of 2 way traffic, much policed in recent years, because in 1961 Louis Armstrong visited Egypt. Here is a promotional photo:
Image

His trip was a disaster peppered with vicious attacks on him over Zionism (completely untrue) and general Egyptian paranoia about ‘outside forces’. Nothing is new under the chauvinistic sun: http://amroali.com/2015/06/what-louis-a ... ut-itself/ (a very good Australo-Egyptian blog). Al Ahram accused him of leading a Jewish spy network so its journalistic standards haven’t changed in 70 years. Nasser himself proclaimed that Armstrong’s scat lyrics (abstract sounds - like words sung in tune for melodic effect) were used to pass Jewish spy secrets to audiences.

On a better note, here is a warm-hearted photo of the great man entertaining hospitalised children at the Tahhseen Al-Sahha Medical Centre, Cairo (1961).
Image

I'm not aware that any jazz giants made a trip to Egypt after that awful episode.

The giants of modern Jazz in Egypt, heavily influenced by western innovations, included Salah Ragab, The Egyptian Jazz Ensemble and Yehya Khalil who all toured and recorded widely. However, recent decades have seen both a turning away from western musical influences combined, paradoxically, with a ‘hoovering’ up by middle class Egyptians of western garbage. Maybe more on the three giants in a latter post. Here is a taster, a bit kitch and folkish:

Here is a modern local compilation – it’s a bit ethnic and too modern for my tastes – more Egyptian than jazz, but if you have nothing better to do then this is your next 40 minutes:

Some general historical views: http://www.egyptindependent.com/telling ... tian-jazz/ and http://www.arabamerica.com/6-brilliant- ... d-to-know/ about Jazz in Egypt. I suspect the story is yet to be well told, but in a country that is more interested in its millennial heritage than the last 100 years it may never be told.

You might think that music is just music – but not in Egypt. The state controlled Musicians Syndicate: “board members now have the right to issue warrants against people implicated in a crime that falls under the artistic syndicates law, conduct searches and arrests, accept complaints and reports from citizens, prepare minutes, collect information on the suspects and send reports directly to the prosecution.”. According to Article 5 of the artistic syndicates law, “no person is to work in the musical arts unless they are a working member (ie approved and paid up) of the syndicate.”. Thus the crimes mentioned in the decree by the justice minister are working in music, including “singing in all its different forms, playing all kinds of musical instruments, musical composition, composing, music distribution, leading an orchestra and music history” without a syndicate permit or membership, as well as contracting or hiring non-members or non-permit-holders. A court overruled this law but it is far from clear that the Minister and Syndicate have followed the court decision. Clearly music and singing ‘need’ tight control. https://www.madamasr.com/en/2016/02/11/ ... syndicate/ and https://www.madamasr.com/en/2016/04/17/ ... st-powers/

A final and positive note. Half way through this post I came across the very excellent blog by William H Peck, a former long-time Luxor archaeologist. http://www.williamhpeck.org/egypt_in_tin_pan_alley.
It contains a selection of record covers of Egyptian themed Jazz and related music from before WW2. Some of the most striking designs are:
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Last edited by Hafiz on Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

Post by Hafiz » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:38 pm

There is a line out of a musical - 'I think he/she's got it'. I think I got most of it - more by chance and third party help than intent.

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Re: Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

Post by newcastle » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:22 pm

That's my reading - and listening - sorted for tomorrow! :lol:

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Re: Egypt Changed World Music Part 1

Post by Winged Isis » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:34 am

The bits I've had time for are great so far. More gems to come as I get time. Thanks Hafiz! :wi
Carpe diem! :le:

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