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

Getty Images
June 30, 2016 | NPR · How might a Brexit affect U.K. citizens in their everyday lives? Everything from mobile phone usage to Premier League football, pet travel and how much booze can be brought home duty-free may change.
 

AFP/Getty Images
June 30, 2016 | NPR · A senior Turkish official identified the attackers’ nationalities, according to the Dogan News Agency. Police have carried out raids looking for suspects in the attack that killed at least 43 people.
 

Getty Images
June 30, 2016 | NPR · Two suicide bombers struck a convoy of buses carrying recently-graduated Afghan police cadets, according to wire service reports. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy Of Harriet Logan
June 29, 2016 | NPR · Harriet Logan, owner of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, recommends a graphic novel about trash, a George Eliot classic and a children’s book about a bear pianist.
 

Courtesy of The Perennial
June 29, 2016 | NPR · The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, “Seriously, why?”
 

Ruby Wallau/NPR
June 29, 2016 | NPR · Bob Proehl’s sprawling novel follows actor Valerie and her son Alex on an epic road trip, punctuated by stops at comic conventions. It’s a charming but messy debut that crams in too many ideas.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
June 30, 2016 | NPR · The Richmond metal band’s new album both expands and contracts the realms of extreme music; it’s huge in scope and sound, with instrumental passages that take their time even as they destroy.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 30, 2016 | NPR · The producer known as Blood Orange says his new album is for everyone who grows up feeling “underappreciated.” To serve them, he has to be wholly himself.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 30, 2016 | NPR · After stints in Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna still finds new ways to rage and inspire. On her new album at the helm of The Julie Ruin, she transforms anger into a source of power and fun.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab