Memories of Cairo
This album presents a compilation of music Nesma used while performing in the Cairo dance scene in the 90’s. All the themes have been specially composed or arranged for dance.
A beautiful journey through the different styles of Oriental Dance. Music recorded in Egypt by the finest performers of the Cairo Arabic Music Ensemble. A magnificent album for Oriental dancers as well as music lovers.
- Artist: Nesma
- Title: Memories of Cairo
- Oriental Dance Music Volumen 1
- Catalogue Ref.: ND9801
A Spaniard, Nesma resided in Cairo between the years 1993 and 1998, where she studied Oriental dance and Egyptian folklore. During this time she performed as a soloist with her own orchestra in over 3,500 shows performed in the most prestigious halls of Cairo. She broadened her artistic career in the National Egyptian Folkloric Reda Ballet, as the only non-Egyptian dancer to form part of the company.
Since then she has danced taught courses around the world. In Spain she founded her own school and a dance company: Al-Andalus Danza.
The music has been my primary source of inspiration, even above and beyond that of dance itself.
I say this because while starting out as an Oriental dancer in my country, Spain, I stumbled upon an additional difficulty: getting appropriate pieces of music for my performances. Pieces that were not solely envisioned for the ear’s delight but rather that were dedicated to dance performances and that would allow the dancers to unfurl all of their art across the stage.
Along with the frustration of not being able to find appropriate music for my shows I would have to add that this very music would be a source of inspiration vitally important to my personal and artistic growth.
And it was in Egypt where, besides housing many cultural treasures, one could happen upon another extraordinary gem: the music that, along with Oriental dance, formed one of the most fascinating artistic reference points that a person could find. Cairo, universal mecca of the Arab dance and music world, was the birthplace of this extraordinary spectacle.
Perhaps because of my fruitless search, shortly after I resumed my determination to take that leap and continue my professional path in Egypt, which fortunately allowed me to get to know personally the real world of Oriental dance and which at the same time gave me access to work with live musicians. Virtuosos in their own right and formidably talented, through music they were able to create authentic of two-way communication with the dancer, conspire with her, inspire her and draw out all her potential onstage.
From the memories of my beginnings in Cairo and my marvellous encounters there came the idea of one day producing a record with Oriental music especially for dancers. That idea produced this disc which serves as the first in a series specially designed for dance performance. Many of the themes included here I used in my years performing.
Surely this is a project which arrives on the scene with the idea of filling a vacuum that western discographic companies have not filled, a record created with great effort and care in which much trouble has been taken with the details and which aims to give an advantage to dancers who, in the west, unfortunately do not normally have the possibility of working with live musicians.
1. Overture Nesma
A prelude to the dance performance which serves to focus the audience’s attention and creates the atmosphere for the dancer’s entrance. Composition written for Nesma by the accomplished composer Osama El Gohary.
In every Egyptian dance show the Oriental dance entrance, a classical piece which opens the dance performance, is the central and most challenging piece, in which the dancer demonstrates her technical virtuosity, musical sensibility and her talent in performing.
As with singers, every esteemed dancer in Egypt has themes in her repertoire written especially for her. In this case it is no different: a piece created for Nesma in 1997 by Osama El Gohary, composer of many pieces that make up her repertoire.
3. Negm’s Solo
Another of Egypt’s most noteworthy percussionists, Negm Hanafy, well-known for his skill and experience working with dancers for live performances, composed and performed this whimsical, original Fadi (solo for tabla).
4. Nesma Finale
The same as with the Overture, a grand finale is necessary in every dance performance of calibre. The melody from the beginning of the Oriental dance entrance is taken up again to conclude with a grand finale. Again, it is another composition by Osama El Gohary for Nesma written at the same time as the others in this collection.
5. Hobbak Ala Feyn
“Where is your love?” is the title of an already classic piece used in the film The Tiger that was composed and performed by the great Mohamed Abdel Muttalib for the celebrated dancer Naima Aakeef. Nesma built on the film piece to write her own arrangements of this work based upon an accordion solo. This new arrangement rounds out the theme that Nesma dance on numerous occasions in her performances in Cairo.
A stunning Oriental dance entrance composed for Nesma in 1996 by Osama El Gohary. Like most Oriental dance entrances of the last few decades it has an impetuous beginning, a development showing great agility in its rhythmic variety and a compelling finale.
7. Hussein’s solo
Hussein el Zahaar, a percussionist for Nagua Fouad for over 15 years and famous across Egypt for his extensive experience with dancers, has worked in company with Nesma since 1997 and composed this beguiling solo for her.
8. Baladi Accordion Piece
The accordion, a western instrument, was introduced into traditional Egyptian music about halfway through the 20th century. Since then it has steadily increased in popularity and has taken on a major role in Egyptian music, as in this baladi piece.
9. Daret El Ayam I
10. Daret El Ayam II
11. Daret El Ayam III
On numerous occasions Nesma has used this song from the well-known master Mohamed Abdel Wahab as the final piece for her performances. Composed originally for the legendary singer Oum Kalthoum, this instrumental version was specially arranged for dance and features different instruments taking over the lines which were originally sung.
Production and direction: Nesma
Recording, mixing, mastering and arrangements: Ahmed Abdel Fattah
Music selection and special arrangements for dance: Nesma
Recorded, mix and mastered: in Magic Sound Studio, Cairo, Egypt 1998
Re-mastering: Gabriel Gutiérrez, Madrid, Spain
Production: SOLFEON, S.L. Spain
Graphic Design: Rodil & Herraiz
Music performed by the Cairo Arabic Music Ensemble
Mustafa Abou Shifa
Mohamed El Mougi
Nay & kawala
Mohamed Fouda (tracks 1,2,4)
Mohamed Ali (traks 9,10&11)
Mundouh El Gebaly
Ahmed Abdel Fattah
Tabla, Dohola & Dof
Said El Artist (tracks 1,2,4,9,10&11)
Hussein El Zahaar (tracks 5,6,&7)
Negm Hanafy ( tracks 3&8)
Keyboard and Sequences
Ahmed Abdel Fattah
Sami & Ensherah