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Hamza El Din

One of the first African musicians to gain widespread international recognition, Hamza El Din is a Nubian master of the oud, or the fretless lute. Western listeners are as likely as not to have been exposed to his work via the Grateful Dead, who played with him on-stage occasionally. (El Din also helped arrange the Dead's tour of Egypt.) He played an integral role in modernizing Nubian music, using his work to both evoke and tell stories of Nubian life.

El Din was originally trained to be an engineer, but changed direction and enrolled in the Middle Eastern School of Music, where he began to compose his own songs. On a fellowship to study Western classical music in Rome, he met American Gino Foreman, who exposed Hamza's work to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. This resulted in a contract with Vanguard. His mid-'60s debut, Al Oud -- Instrumental and Vocal Music From Nubia, was one of the first "world music" recordings to achieve wide exposure in the West.

In the second half of the 1960s, El Din spent much of his time in America, living in guitarist Sandy Bull's apartment for a while. Taking a series of teaching positions in various American locations, he also found time to record a Nonesuch album in 1968, Escalay, that is considered one of the best documents of Nubian music. Eclipse is his most notable post-Escalay record, raising his profile in the U.S. when it was reissued on CD by Rykodisc. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Al Oud: Instruments & Vocal Music

1. Childhood

2. The Spirits

3. Grandfathers' Stories

4. Did Nura Remember

5. The Message Bearer

6. The Gondola

7. Call For Unity

8. The Fortune Teller

9. Greeting Card

x

Track List: A Wish

1. Greetings

2. Sunset

3. Anesigu

4. Griffin 2

5. Nagrishad

6. Samai Husaini

7. A Wish

x

Track List: Available Sound - Darius

1. Er´rasoul – The Messenger

2. Saqiat Darius – Waterwheel Of Darius

3. Ashranda – The Beautiful

4. Shams Esh´shamusa – Delicate Sun

5. Nabra – Gold Ore

6. Shortunga – My Soul

7. El Aanqa – Griffin

x

Track List: Eclipse

1. Helalisa (Nubian Song)

2. The Visitors

3. Ollin Arageed

4. Your Love Is Ever Young

5. Mwashah

x

Track List: Music Of Nubia

1. Fegir Nedan (Call To Worship)

2. Desse Barama (Peace)

3. Aiga Denos Ailanga (Give Back My Heart)

4. Hoi To Irkil Fagiu (Message Bearer)

5. Kuto Fa Pattaroni (Children's Songs)

6. Shahadag Og (Believe)

7. Nabra (Raw Gold)

8. Nubala (Nubiana)

Comments

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I've loved his music for years! Wonderful Oudist!!

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