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Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, 1910; d Cairo, May 3, 1991). Egyptian composer and singer. As a child he had a remarkable musical memory, and at the age of seven he joined a drama troupe to sing during intervals. In 1920 he began studies of traditional Arab music at the Arabic Music Club (now the Institute of Arabic Music), and he also studied Western music for a time at the Bergrün School in Cairo. He then embarked on a dual career as a singer-composer; possessing a fine baritone voice, he achieved great popularity, and he also won fame for his improvisations on the ‘...

Article

Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, Nov 25, 1924; d Königstein, Nov 23, 1988). Egyptian composer. His father performed classical Arab music with his own ensemble. After learning the piano and developing an interest in Western music, Gamal studied history at Cairo University (BA 1945), at the same time continuing his musical studies with Hans Hickmann and others. A government bursary enabled him to study musicology in Heidelberg with Georgiadis (...

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John Curry

(bNew York, Jan 30, 1927; dNew York, Oct 2, 1993). Double bass and ‘ūd player. His early influences included the music played and sung by his father, who was Sudanese, and the Middle Eastern and East European music he heard growing up in Brooklyn’s multiracial community. He began learning violin at the age of seven and later studied double bass, piano, and tuba and attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York. At this time he played Greek, Syrian, and Gypsy music professionally at weddings and other occasions. After playing double bass with Art Blakey (...

Article

Abeti  

Gary Stewart

(b Stanleyville [Kisangani], Belgian Congo [Democratic Republic of the Congo], Nov 9, 1951; d Paris, Sept 29, 1994). Congolese singer and songwriter. Abeti first reached prominence in West Africa in the early 1970s under the tutelage of Togolese impresario Gérard Akueson who later became her husband. On the strength of her West African following, Abeti performed at the Paris Olympia concert hall in ...

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Abiba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Small double-headed cylindro-conical drum of the Buda and Mangbetu peoples of the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The head is made of antelope skin and beaten with the hand. It was used in (forbidden) mambela rites. The abiba deni is a drum of the Lengola people of the DRC....

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Abigolo  

Jeremy Montagu

Large xylophone of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It usually has about 12 bars laid across two banana or plantain trunks and is played by three or four people, sometimes girls, sitting on both sides of the instrument.

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Abita  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Single-headed conical drum of the Popoi people of the Uele region, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Abombo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Bowl-shaped drum of the Angba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about 50 to 75 cm tall. The single antelope-skin head is laced to the body. It is beaten with one hand and one stick. The abowa mokindja of the Lengola people is similar....

Article

Val Wilmer

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962...

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Abu  

Large, complex horn of the Luo people of Kenya. It is formed from a round gourd to which is affixed an elongated gourd neck joined at the top to a cow or antelope horn. It is side-blown through a hole near the tip of the animal horn. The sections are joined with beeswax, and the instrument is dampened with water before use to seal any cracks. It is played at funerals and other functions. The player introduces a song, and after the chorus enters he plays the ...