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099 – Dawr “Fī el-bu‘di yāmā” 1



079-AHH-1 A Abdul Hay Helmi, Fil Bouadi Yama IThe Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents “Sama‘ ”. 

“Sama‘ is a show that discusses our musical heritage through comparison and analysis…

A concept by Mustafa Said.




Dear listeners,

Welcome to a new episode of “Sama‘ ”.

In this episode, we will discuss dawr “Fī el-bu‘di yāmā” written by Sheikh Muḥammad al-Darwīsh and composed by Muḥammad Afandī ‘Uthmān to the sikāh maqām, huzām sub-maqām.



Fī el-bu‘di yāmā kunt anūḥ                                               w-el-albi yāmā tkallim ‘ala el-ḥabīb

We-muhgitī kādit tirūḥ                                                     lākin laṭaf rabbi we-sallim

l-afraḥ we-aṭīb



Ānisti yā nūr el-‘uyūn                                          sharrafti yā rōḥ el-muhga

Wa’t el-ghiyāb kān                                                           albī ‘alēk kulluh shugūn



Sharrafti yā rōḥ el-muhga                                                wa’t el-ghiyāb kān albī ‘alēk


In some copies, we will hear “wa’t el-bi‘ād” instead of “wa’t el-ghiyāb”. It is not important… everybody does this, such as in “albī ‘alēk” and “ ‘alēk albī”.

In relation to “albī ‘alēk” and “ ‘alēk albī”, dawr “Fī el-bu‘d yāmā” is among the most famous dawr… not because people listened to dawr or because they were advertised, but because this dawr is associated with a 1950s’ movie starring ‘Abd al-‘Abd al-Ḥalīm Ḥafiẓ, nicknamed “Al-‘Andalīb al-Asmar” (the Brown Nightingale). As usual in 1950s’ movies, this movie includes a parody scene with old songs, i.e. Classical Arab Music songs, where he says “I am at your service, Sir”, and later in the middle of the movie, he says: “Anā albī ‘alēk, ‘alēk albī” and sings the old song “W-ēh dhanbī”… Anyway, the point is that people do not know the dawr yet they know this part of “Al-‘Andalīb al-Asmar” ’s singing in this parody scene.

This dawr is composed to the sikāh maqām, huzām sub-maqām… the huzām specifically because the maqām’s second scale-step changes, i.e. the jahārkāh is altered when it sets on the nawa and becomes a sub-maqām like the ḥijāz sub-maqām: so it sets as a ḥijāz key not as a jahārkāh, i.e. sikāh jahārkāh nawa shūrī nawa ḥijāz nawa jahārkāh sikāh (Mi demi bemol Fa Sol La bemol Sol Fa dieze Sol Fa Mi demi bemol). The Fa# (ḥijāz) must go up. If it is not a Fa#, then it is not a huzām. It has to be a Fa# when it settles on the nawa (Sol).

Let us listen to the template form of the madhhab performed by Sheikh Sayyid al-Safṭī who always abided by the composed melody of the dawr that he still performed with creativity except for his by-the-book performance of the madhhab that should be the version to learn and memorize from.

Let us listen to the dawr’s madhhab performed by Sheikh Sayyid al-Safṭī…


Why did we choose Sayyid al-Safṭī?

Our many recordings of this dawr include:

The first recording, made on a cylinder record, performed by ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī, and copied by Meshian on 78rpm records wrongly named discs:

the recording of ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī copied by Meshian,

then the recording of Muḥammad Sālim al-Kabīr made probably in 1904 by Odeon on 3 sides of a 35mm record (the 35mm record is a type of 12 inch’ disc, very rare in the Arab world, probably only made during Odeon’s 1904 recording campaign);

‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī

‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī

A recording of Sheikh Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī made one year later by Sama‘ al-Mulūk;

A recording of ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī made by Odeon, probably also in 1905;

Another recording of Sheikh Yūsuf made by Gramophone in 1907;


Then some late recordings:

A recording of Sheikh Sayyid al-Safṭī made by Polyphon in the mid-1920s, around 1925-6;

An electrical recording of ‘Azīz ‘Uthmān –the son of Muḥammad ‘Uthmān, the composer of the dawr– made by His Master’s Voice during the first Congress of Arab Music;

Finally, a Radio’s recording of Ṣāliḥ ­Afandī ‘Abd al-Ḥayy made in the mid-1950s. 

After this talk about the recordings, let us listen to the dawr in its true educational/teaching template version.

In this respect, when ‘Abd al-Ḥalīm Nuwayra, for example, wanted to sing this dawr collectively, he relied a lot on this recording –that is very easy to note– along with the recording of Sheikh Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī made by Gramophone.

So let us listen to the Congress’ recording even though it is among the last recordings. We will start with it in order to give an idea of the template form of this dawr.

So, here is ‘Azīz ‘Uthmān accompanied by Muṣṭafa Bēh Riḍā (qānūn) and an unknown percussionist, probably Maḥmūd Raḥmī… 


During the Congress, they wanted dawr to be recorded in their template form. The only one who did not comply with this during this Congress was probably Dāwūd Ḥusnī… Because, in my opinion, it is hard for such a creative person to abide by a fixed melody.

Now, back to the madhhab that we heard performed by Sheikh Sayyid al-Safṭī in its template version as well as in a simplified template version performed by ‘Azīz ‘Uthmān.

Let us now listen to the madhhab performed by Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī and ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī…


The performance of Sheikh Yūsuf accompanied by Muḥammad al-‘Aqqād is powerful and spectacular, absolutely marvellous.

‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī’s performance is closer to Al-Ḥāmūlī’s –we will clarify in future episodes on the structure of the dawr itself why I expect ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī’s performance to be closer to ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī’s singing than to another’s.

Let us resume with the first tafrīda –the tafrīd after the madhhab–… let us listen a little to “Ānist” by Sheikh Yūsuf recorded by Sama‘ al-Mulūk…


Note that the instruments had not really prepared what they were interpreting.

The same as in Sayyid al-Safṭī’s recording…


The rhythm is more lively and they had clearly trained, unless this is the result of the long experience of Sāmī al-Shawwā, ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd al-Quḍḍābī, and Sayyid al-Safṭī in working together.

Let us now listen to performers who do not seem to have worked together a lot. Here is Muḥammad Sālim accompanied by Ibrāhīm Sahlūn’s and ‘ūdist Al-Ḥāj Sayyid al-Suwaysī’s impishness…


Note that Ibrāhīm Sahlūn’s jawāb to the sikāh is on the same chord: he performed a Glissando until he reached the maqām’s jawāb.

Also, note how the ‘ūd continuous Tremolo interprets Muḥammad Sālim’s performance.

Let us continue with the same recording of Muḥammad Sālim’s tafrīd


Now, let us hear ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī’s section to the bayyātī


Muḥammad Sālim al-‘Agūz was not keen on singing extended versions of dawr. He excelled in dawr such as “Anā el-sabab fī illī gara” and those before Muḥammad ‘Uthmān. While, even though his performance of dawr such as “Fī el-bu‘d yāmā” or “Sallimti rūḥak” by Dāwūd Ḥusnī is excellent, he develops simple dawr better than compound dawr, i.e. the dawr of Muḥammad ‘Uthmān and ‘Abduh al-Ḥāmūlī following the Nahḍa school. While his performance is creative and includes improvisations, the memorized aspect still prevails.

We end today’s episode with ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Ḥilmī’s full performance of the dawr, recorded by Odeon on 3 record-sides, accompanied by Ibrāhīm Sahlūn (kamān) and Muḥammad Ibrāhīm (qānūn).

We will discover in our next episode of “Sama‘ ” why we ended today’s episode with ‘Abd al-Ḥayy.

We will meet again in a new episode of “Sama‘ ” to resume our discussion about dawr “Fī el-bu‘di yāmā”.

Here is ‘Abd al-Ḥayy Afandī Ḥilmī…



  2015  /  Podcast  /  Last Updated February 19, 2015 by Amar  /  Tags:
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