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Life of master musician Sayed Darwish to be celebrated with a lecture and a concert

The Cultural Development Fund to mark 88 years since the death of a man that rejuvenated Arabic music

Ahram Online, Tuesday 20 Sep 2011
Sayed Darwish

To mark 88 years since the death of Sayed Darwish, the Talaat Harb Cultural Centre will host a lecture by the singer Iman El Bahr Darwish and a concert by The Friends of Sayed Darwish’s Music.

An exhibition of his personal belongings, rare photographs and books about him will also be on display.

Darwish is considered the rejuvenator of Arab music. He was born in Alexandria on 18 March 1892 and died on 10 September in 1923.

He started by singing the music of El-Sheikh Salama Hegazy and El-Sheikh Hassan Azhary with his friends and enrolled in a religious institute in Alexandria in 1905.

Upon graduation he worked as a singer in coffee shops and as a construction worker. On construction sites he sang to catch the attention of his fellow workers.

His singing career took off when the brothers Amin and Selim Atalla, two of the most famous people working in the arts, happened to be at a cafe nearby, heard him singing and asked him to join their tour at the end of 1908.

He then learned to play the oud and write musical. In 1917 he moved to Cairo and reached fame. He composed plays for the Naguib El-Rihany troupe and George Abyad and Aly El-Kassar. With the eruption of the 1919 revolution, he composed Oum Ya Masry (Revolt, Egyptian).

Sayed Darwish was the first to add polyphonic tunes to Arab music in his three operettas Al-Ashra Al-Tayeba (The Ten of Diamonds), Scheherazade and Al-Balrouka (The Wig). 

The celebration will be held next Thursday 22 September at 7 pm at the Talaat Harb Cultural Centre located in Islamic Cairo, 1 El-Sayeda Nafisa St.


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