Munira al-Mahdiyya (1884-1965) is among the earliest female recording artists of Egypt. She was a celebrity during her day and appeared in films, much like Umm Kulthum who, shortly after she began recording, eclipsed nearly all artists in Egypt in terms of popularity. I believe this recording was made ca. 1914. On violin and kanun are two accompanists, one of whom (I assume) joins Munira in singing the last third of the song. The title of the piece translates literally to “adversities tore me apart.” I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to take a little more liberty and say that it could also be “hard times tore me apart,” which sounds a lot like countless blues songs.

The Baidaphon label was an early independent label out of Beirut, Lebanon. Started before 1912 by several members of the Bayda family (including singer Farjallah Bayda, also a Baidaphon talent), the label recorded throughout the Middle East and North Africa, sending their masters to Germany to be manufactured. I’ve been lucky to find Baidaphons from Morocco to Central Asia. The label pictured here is their 1920s design. However, I believe the song is from an early session of al-Mahdiyya’s, so in effect this very well may be a 1920s re-release. Baidaphon, like Odeon and a few other companies, seemed to like the 10.5? record, of which this is an example.

Read more HERE at the Free Music Archive

 

Comments are closed.

News

AP
September 21, 2014 | NPR · John Abdallah Wambere applied for asylum in the U.S. after Uganda passed a harsh anti-gay law earlier this year. His application has now been recommended for approval, pending a background check.
 

AP
September 21, 2014 | NPR · Scientists hope NASA’s MAVEN probe, which went into orbit Sunday night, will provide insight into why the Martian climate changed drastically billions of years ago.
 

EPA /LANDOV
September 21, 2014 | NPR · While a U.N. agency reported about 70,000 refugees this weekend, a Turkish official says 100,000 Syrians have entered Turkey in the past week. Fighters from ISIS are closing in on the border.
 

Arts & Life

September 21, 2014 | NPR · When award-winning poet Brian Turner served in the Army, he was following a long family tradition. His new memoir traces that history — and imagines the perspectives of the people shooting back.
 

Candlewick Press
September 21, 2014 | NPR · It’s Perfectly Normal, a 20-year-old illustrated sex-ed book for kids, is meant to teach children about sexual health, puberty and relationships. It’s one of the most banned books in America.
 

Courtesy of Georgia Durante
September 21, 2014 | NPR · Georgia Durante’s career as a stunt driver has led to roles in car commercials and movies. But before the bright lights of Hollywood, the former model was speeding away from a dark past.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
September 21, 2014 | NPR · The adventuresome string quartet asked a huge range of musicians to create new pieces modeled on artistic idols. Hear pieces inspired by figures ranging from John Steinbeck to James Brown.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 21, 2014 | NPR · Electric Wizard has spent two decades playing ridiculously heavy, misanthropic doom metal. On Time To Die, the band gets more room to explore than ever.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 21, 2014 | NPR · Innerworld is awash in ’80s earmarks, but it also conveys a sense of wistfulness; a sense of childlike splendor in danger of succumbing to the ravages of adulthood.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab