Throwback Thursday. 450 Clicks Southwest of Cairo, Egypt - 1978

April 30, 2015

It's not everyday that one journeys into the Nubian desert and hosts an impromptu drum circle. 
 
I became known as "The White Tar Player" ​in the villages of the Egyptian desert in 1978 when we played at the Great Pyramids.​ ​When I wasn't on stage I would take my Tar drum and head out to discover the local rhythms this very special place had to offer.​ ​This is the story of one of those days.
 
One of the villages I visited ​w​as the home of ​one of my mentors, Hamza El Din​. ​​Hamza taught me about the romancing of the drum.​  He was a deep listener, he suspended time.  I reflect on him often.​ 
 
​It wasn't long after I started playing that villagers came to join me with their drums and other instruments. Over 1500 years of tradition and music played for hours on a sandy road in the middle of ancient lands.
 
​​What I later learned was that his village had been in mourning after the death of their chief.  Music had been a rare occurrence during that time.  I remember Hamza walking towards me​ out of the dust and saying to me: "Thank you for bringing the music back."
 
It was also the villagers first experience hearing polyrhythms played on the Tar.  My technique was different from anything they had ever seen or heard. To this day I am credited with teaching the Nubians a new percussion technique. 
 
This was a very special time in my life. Thanks for letting me share. 
 
Hear an interview where I talk about Egypt in more detail - http://bit.ly/1JVjriv  (Starts at minute 7:05)
Watch our performance of "Ollin Arageed" - http://bit.ly/1JcHsle
Check out a great post and some rare tracks from David Lemieux - http://bit.ly/1JEovLt
Learn more about the The Music of Upper and Lower Egypt from my partnership with the Smithsonian "Folkways" project - http://bit.ly/1GA0nDy
 
Thanks to Dead.net and their respective photographers for the photos.