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122 – Sheikh Sayyid al-Ṣaftī 4



185-SSF, Saied Safti, Waddaet Rouhi I

The Arab Music Archiving and Research foundation (AMAR), in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), presents “Min al-Tārīkh”.

Dear listeners,

Welcome to a new episode of “Min al-Tārīkh”.

Today, we will resume our discussion about Sheikh Sayyid al-Ṣaftī with Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

What do you think of the voice of old Sayyid al-Ṣaftī in the late Odeon electrical recordings, singing dawr “Sallimti rōḥak” for example?

In the late Odeon and Columbia recordings, I prefer his performance of mawwāl to his performance of dawr. At that point, he had gained a lot of experience but had lost 80% of his vocal ability: his vocal range was much smaller and he had much less control over the level of his voice. The charming and beautiful texture was almost gone, yet the experience and emotions –or drama– can still make one cry. So, talking about this last phase and about mawwāl, I prefer his mawwāl to his dawr in the late Odeon and Columbia discs…


Your turn, Sir.

Let us listen to dawr “Abli ma tlūf bi-el-maḥabba”.

A beautiful dawr.

…To the bayyātī.

To the bayyātī… We only have Sayyid al-Ṣaftī’s recording, even though this dawr should have been recorded much more.

It should have been sung by al-Manyalāwī. The structure of this dawr reminds me of…

…“El-kamāl fī el-milāḥ ṣudaf”. Do you think this dawr was composed before or after Sheikh Yūsuf’s death?

It was composed before Sheikh Yūsuf’s death. Sheikh Sayyid al-Ṣaftī recorded it in May 1910 among the first recordings made on 25cm discs in May 1910.

Whereas Sheikh al-Manyalāwī used to record large discs.

Indeed, he used to record 30cm discs. Sheikh Yūsuf al-Manyalāwī surely knew this dawr and may have performed it in concerts, who knows?!

…Such a shame…

The dawr was written by Aḥmad ‘Āshūr and composed by al-Qabbānī. Let us listen to it.

Such a beautiful dawr! It is among the first recorded dawr… It was recorded by Gramophone.


Let us listen…


There is a missing matrix in the middle of the “Abli ma tlūf bi-el-maḥabba” recording: we have 1202, 1204, 1205, and 1206. 1203 is missing. We do not know where it is. It may have not been released… recorded but not published.

The matrix is gone, people. Let us find it!

We do not know what happened. All we know is that it was not released. On the other hand, we learned about dawr that were recorded on five sides. What do you think?

There was some hesitation and confusion in the early years of commercial recording: muṭrib did not know if dawr were to be recorded in an abridged version, or if discs were to reflect in a way or another the actual performance. Thus, at the beginning in 1903, dawr were recorded on one side.

Indeed… and up until 1906, dawr were abridged/condensed and recorded on one side.

Dawr were indeed condensed.

Short dawr were recorded on two sides, and long dawr were mostly recorded on three and four sides.

The only exceptions are in the voice of Sayyid al-Ṣaftī who recorded at least three dawr on five sides:

  • “El-kamāl fī el-milāḥ ṣudaf” recorded by Zonophone;
  • its continuation mawwāl “Awāmik el-ghuṣn”;
  • Dāwūd Ḥusnī’s dawr “Fu’ādī amruh ‘agīb” to the kardān;
  • its continuation “Uṣbur tnūl el-marām”;
  • and finally the demo disc that we have here.

Yes, we have this demo disc.

The demo disc of Dāwūd Ḥusnī’s dawr “Wadda‘t rōḥī” to the ‘ushshāq, recorded on five sides.

Let us listen to an excerpt of “Wadda‘t rōḥī” and to an excerpt of “Fu’ādī amruh ‘agīb”, what do you think?




214-SSF-A, Saied Safti, Fouadi Amro Agib I 100-SSF-1-A, Saied Safti, Abl Ma Tmil I


Dear listeners,

We have reached the end of today’s episode of “Min al-Tārīkh” dedicated to Sheikh Sayyid al-Ṣaftī.

We thank Prof. Frédéric Lagrange.

We will meet again in a new episode to resume our discussion about Sheikh Sayyid al-Ṣaftī.

“Min al-Tārīkh” is brought to you by Mustafa Said.


  2015  /  Podcast  /  Last Updated July 30, 2015 by Amar  /  Tags:
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