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
July 25, 2014 | NPR · The truce would allow Palestinian civilians to get food and aid where it’s needed, officials say. It would reportedly begin Saturday morning.
 

Library of Congress
July 25, 2014 | NPR · Rep. Curt Clawson, a Republican from Florida, tells subcommittee witnesses from two U.S. agencies, “I’m familiar with your country; I love your country.”
 

AP
July 25, 2014 | NPR · The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador met at the White House to discuss the steep uptick in unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy Peaches Christ
July 25, 2014 | NPR · We’ve invited Peaches Christ, Queen of San Francisco Drag Queens, to play a game called “Fuggedaboutit!”
 

Sony Pictures Classics
July 25, 2014 | NPR · Allen doesn’t rehearse, and he isn’t a big talker. But Firth pooh-poohs claims that he doesn’t direct. He says Allen was a “very involved and meticulous director” while making Magic in the Moonlight.
 

Andrea Shea for WBUR
July 25, 2014 | WBUR · At his ramen shop in Cambridge, Mass., chef Tsuyoshi Nishioka wants customers to follow their dreams. His philosophy? If you can finish a bowl of his ramen, you can accomplish anything in life.
 

Music

Adam Kissick for NPR
July 25, 2014 | NPR · The prolific singer-songwriter showcases some of his new songs — and many others from his long and frequently glorious catalog — during a live webcast from Newport, R.I.
 

Courtesy of the artist
July 25, 2014 | NPR · Despite being born blind and speaking a language that few on Earth understand, Australian singer-songwriter Gurrumul has become, as Rolling Stone puts it, the most important voice of his nation.
 

July 25, 2014 | NPR · Try your hand at our puzzler for careful listeners, this week featuring fills and intros hand-picked by Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. Hear the fill or intro and match it to the song.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab