Hamza el Din

A Song of the Nile

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Those with only a slight knowledge of Middle Eastern and North African music might not know the differences between music from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, or Syria and music from North African countries like Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. While there are great similarities, it's important to know that all of those countries have their own musical cultures. The same goes for the Sudan, which has produced such distinguished Nubian artists as Hamza el Din. The Nubian Muslim is in excellent form on this 1982 recording, which illustrates the fact he is as fine a singer as he is an oud player. Most of the haunting songs were written by el Din or have some type of Nubian origin, but "Samai" was written by Greek composer Tatyoth. A Greek song fits in perfectly on a Nubian-oriented album, for Greek music favors modal playing and is closely related to Middle Eastern and North African music. (In fact, Nubian, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Jewish, North African, Indian, Iranian/Persian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Syrian, and Armenian music is all part of the same family). Recorded when he was in his early fifties, Songs of the Nile is among the many el Din albums that are well worth obtaining.