Cairo Sounds on Thursday Night (3)

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 El Tanbura
 
El Tanbura was established by Zakaria Ibrahim in 1989 in Port Said, when he brought together the masters of the simsimia, encouraging them in the revival of their musical heritage. Most of them had stopped playing: their music was no longer in demand, as people followed the fashion of pop culture music. Today, El Tanbura includes 20 members – master musicians, singers, philosophers, as well as fishermen, builders, plumbers and vendors, ranging in age from 25 to 84 years. Their instruments are their voices, the Simsimia, theTanbura (big lyre), Nay also Kawala (end-blown, reed flute), tabla (vase-shaped drum), triangle, Sagat (small cymbals), Shakhalil (kind of castanets) and Riqq (open, wooden frame drum with jingling discs in the frame). Their collected oral repertoire consists of more than 20 hours of traditional songs and much remains to be documented.
The award-winning El Tanbura has performed to enthusiastic audiences in countries all over the world from Canada to Europe, to Australia and Africa. They are regularly invited to participate in international music festivals, such as WOMAD in England, Abu Dhabi and WOMEX in Spain and, most recently, WOMAD in Russia.
In collaboration with their English partner, the production company, 30IPS, El Mastaba has produced two albums of international standard for El Tanbura band “Between the Desert and the Sea” and “Friends of Bambouti”. The Center has also produced three albums in Egypt entitled “Nouh El Hamam”, “Ahwa Qamar” and, most recently, an album of resistance songs spanning several decades, “January 26”.

– El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music

Thursday nights in Cairo are filled with parties, dinners, weddings but if you have a couple of hours and an adventurous music lover, check out a variety of folk music brought to the el-Dammah Theatre by Zakaria Ibrahim, researcher and founder of El Mastaba Center. c2228c89-922e-4bbd-b9d5-4869d1c4e8c1

El Dammah Theatre, managed by El Mastaba Center for Folk Music and located at El Balakesa Street, Abdeen.  Ticket: 30 EGP Winters: Thursday at 8pm

For more information please visit our website : www.el-mastaba.org

For more Egyptian traditional music see:

Cairo Sounds on Thursday Night (2)

and

Cairo Sounds-Egyptian Folk Music (1)

The key to a great noodle soup is in the noodles!

70207822-C17A-4369-9E0B-788555D9FA2ALanzhou (Lan-Jo) is a city in Gansu province, China, home of a significant population of Hui Muslims, whose rich history influence the array of food specialties in the region. But if you are short on money or time to travel to Lanzhou, don’t fret, you can experience Lanzhou’s famous hand-pulled laghman (lagman, lamien) noodles in Cairo.

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On a quiet, shady street in Daher district, sit outside at the Chinese Muslim Restaurant and enjoy Beef Noodle Soup, Lanzhou-style. Hand pulled, springy lamian noodles is dough that is roped through the fingers over and over,then slapped against the table to create hundreds of tender noodles. Each noodle dish is prepared by hand-pulling dough into noodles of various sizes…right in front of you!

 

F56288EF-9AC9-4864-815E-532CAF42D4FEMosques in China

The Great Mosque of Xi’an was built in 742AD under the reign of Emporer Zuanzong Li Longi in Tang Dynasty in Chinese architectural style. It has survived centuries till today, being renovated in the Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties. 5AB06A36-A77E-46E1-B6AF-B1E0E7E661A5

Xuahue Mosque named He Don (Qingshuihedong meaning East River Mosque) built in 1485. Qingshuihedong Mosque in Salar Autonomous – Xunhua For history of the mosque and area read: Xiahe to Xining 57863828-AC45-4BF7-9E6F-30ABC1FD2A8EABB81139-6234-428F-9BA8-D7775152E7C2C1C05D1F-5698-4E6E-BBEE-D00E0D8DE952Chinese architecture modern minarets in Xunhua

Dongguan Mosque in Xining

4F14293D-993C-4133-93A8-8629CD108229Emin Minaret and mosque -Turpan, Xinjiang Province. The Emin Minaret was named after a local Turpan general, Emin Khoja. During the Qing Empire, the general sided with the Qing Empire against the Dzungar Mongols and defeated them. The minaret was completed in 1778 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796). For more information read: Foiled at the Finish

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Urumchi, China Xinjiang Province
Hezhou Mosque: (I think because it was not clear the exact name of the mosque; the dome minaret below is behind this mosque.
Located on the east side in the middle of Jianzhong Road, Hezhou Mosque was first built in the late 19th century and rebuilt in 1988

B26A815C-CD0B-4DCB-9C1F-44D5C6AD8149B0789EA8-A988-4DA8-AC3A-8BA8431CF065All rights reserved, copyright 2018 .To copy or re-produce writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.

Obelisque 2018

A2Obelisque Magazine, published annually, is now available.

The following articles are my contributions to the 2018 edition*.

Kyrgyzstan – Art of Felt

(read article here)Felt final 02-001


The Ikats of Uzbekistan

(read article here)

Ikat Final 02 -001


Street Art – The Gallant 

To view Mustafa el-Razzaz bas-relief art on Dokki Bridge go HereStreet Art 01 -2-001


Review:

A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central CairoBook review final 02-001


* Lesley Lababidi, copyright 2018. All rights reserved under international copyright laws. To copy or re-produce photography and/or writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.

 

Cairo Sounds on Thursday night (2)

IMG_5446Thursday nights in Cairo are filled with parties, dinners, weddings but if you have a couple of hours and an adventurous music lover, check out a variety of folk music brought to the el-Dammah Theatre by Zakaria Ibrahim, researcher and founder of El Mastaba Center. c2228c89-922e-4bbd-b9d5-4869d1c4e8c1

Abul Gheit DarawishDSC_0050

Zar and Sufi music and singing presented by the exceptional Abul Gheit Darawish (dervishes) band, provide an unusual evening – a spiritual experience, and with Tanura dance (Egyptian version of the whirling dervishes).

The Abul Gheit Darawish band which is led by Ahmed El Shankhawy, joined El Mastaba Center in 2011, and presents a mixture of Sufi and Zār music with unique rhythms. The name, Abul Gheit, refers to Sheikh Hassan Al Gheitani, whose tomb is located in a small island in El Qaliyubia Governorate. Sheikh Hassan attracted many devoted dervishes and followers in the early part of the 19th century.   IMG_5447

The repertoire of the Abul Gheit dervishes is comprised of Sufi songs, many of which praise the qualities of their holy Sheikh. Over time, their songs fused with the Egyptian and Sudanese Zār music which was practiced in the Arab El Mohamady area. Darawish Abul Gheit are still known for their Zikr nights (Zikr being the Sufi devotional practice, including songs and movements).

Admirers and followers who attend the Zikr nights believe in the ability of this music to inspire spiritual awakening and effect healing.DSC_0065

Al Kaff Al Aswani Band

The band joined El Mastaba center’ bands to revive an ancient Egyptian art: upper Egyptian palm clapping. Which goes back to the time of the pharaohs, and the engravings manifesting this art can be found in many temples and tombs. For instance, it can be seen in al Assasia tombs in the west bank of Luxor city.
As for the roots of the art explained by the head of the band Mahmoud Eledfawi, who started to perform since he was a little child and developed his skills along the way, he says: “this kind of art is not an walk in the park, as it depends on improvisation and creativity at the same time through a group of youth reciting a couplet to the lead singer (which is called a Column: a part of a quartet) and then the lead singer picks up from there, and commits himself to the same subject and assonance accompanied by the rhythm of the palms, sitting on one or more sofa and after a while they stand up facing the singer(s)”.
And the singer begins with a Sufi enchanting for the prophet’ sake, followed by a ballad describing his environment and the state of the lovers, and the palm clapping youth recite a couplet, and the tempo is decided by the speed of the clapping, and then they start to sway in a synchronized way led by the line alpha dancer.
The art of “Kaff” includes all of the social affairs.
The artist: Mahmoud Eledfawi descending form Aswani roots started to perform from Idfo district in Aswan and is on a journey to spread this kind of art to the world.

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Mahmoud Eledfawi

El Dammah Theatre, managed by El Mastaba Center for Folk Music and located at El Balakesa Street, Abdeen.  Ticket: 30 EGP Winters: Thursday at 8pm

For more information please visit our website : www.el-mastaba.org

 

 

 

A Ramadan Iftar to Remember

Enter in Peace and Safety

In celebration of Eid el-Fitr, the 3 day feast after 29 days of fasting, this post remembers a lovely Ramadan summer evening spent at the Demirdashiya el- Khalwatiya Sufi Order in Cairo. I do not profess to have knowledge about sufism. This post is intended to share an uplifting experience that was organized by Amir Abbas Helmi and the Friends of Manial Palace, an iftar (breaking of the fast) at the palace, mosque, and grounds of the Demirdashiya Sufi Order.

On the gate of the entrance, the plaque reads, Qasr (palace) Abdul Rahim Demerdash Pasha, donor of  Demerdash Charitable Hospital, for hospitalization of patients and the poor, 1928.

Iftar tables in the open portico next to the mosque that has cells for silent meditation during a sufi gathering,  on lower and upper floors.

The Khalwatiya, a Sufi brotherhood (tariqa), came to Egypt during the Mamluk period. The Demirdash family was of Circassian Mamluk ancestry, arriving in Egypt with the name Taymmourtash around 1517. Muhammad el-Demirdash el-Mahmudi founded a Sufi order —al- Tariqa el-Demirdashiya—soon after the Ottoman took control of Egypt. The responsibility of continuing the order passed down from father to son, and Sheikh Abdul Rahim Demirdash Pasha  assumed the mantle from his father, Mustafa, at the age of twenty-four. The Sufi order was made up of prominent scholars and merchants, which, along with his considerable wealth, gave Abdul Rahim influence in parliament, where he served, in various positions, for nearly twenty years. In 1928 , he donated his property on Queen Nazli Street (now Ramsis Street) to build a charity institution, the Demirdash Hospital, now a part of Ain Shams University Hospital.

Cells for individual sufis in the background. The key element of Demirdash Khalwatiya  philosophy  is silent meditation.

A peaceful but active order is dedicated to inclusion of all religions, gender, and peoples. All are welcome to visit.

For those who would like a complete discussion of the Demirdashiya al- Khalwatiya Order, read: Visionaries of Silence by Earle H. Waugh (AUC Press, 2007).

 

 

CAIRO AFLAME

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When the Flame Trees bloom, you can be sure it is heating up in Cairo! Between the last few weeks of May and early June, the streets light up in the brilliant glow of red from the Delonix regia tree. Though we need no reminder of summer heat in this part of the world, the glorious splash of red provides a welcomed relief.