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

October 25, 2014 | NPR · Ballot measures cover a lot of ground this year — from minimum wage to school calendars to one involving doughnuts and bear hunting. NPR’s Charlie Mahtesian takes NPR’s Scott Simon through the list.
 

October 25, 2014 | NPR · Among more extreme Islamists, sympathies for the so-called Islamic State are growing — especially in Egypt, where some Islamists are being arrested and accused of terrorism by the police.
 

October 25, 2014 | NPR · New York and New Jersey will require a 21-day quarantine for those who had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa. Some worry the rules could discourage health workers from volunteering.
 

Arts & Life

October 25, 2014 | NPR · Shawn Levy’s brick-sized new biography of screen legend Robert De Niro was produced without cooperation from the actor — but Levy says that just forced him to do better research.
 

Overlook
October 25, 2014 | NPR · Edward Carey’s illustrated young adult novel about the keepers of mystical trash heaps (yes, you read that right) in an alternate Victorian London combines thrills with intelligence and compassion.
 

William Hogarth/Wikimedia
October 25, 2014 | NPR · Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
October 25, 2014 | NPR · NPR’s Scott Simon speaks with Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Giraldo about their 35 years as a music-business power couple.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Join host Fiona Ritchie as she showcases new music from established artists and emerging talent.
 

Redferns
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Brown was one of the pioneers of R&B. In a 1993 session, she sang to host Marian McPartland’s accompaniment in “Skylark” and “Fine And Mellow.”
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab