Saturday, March 10, 2007
Samia Gamal (Arabic: سامية جمال), birth name: Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz), (1924-December 1, 1994) was a famous Egyptian belly dancer and film actress. Born in the Egyptian town of Wana in 1924, Samia's family moved just months later to Cairo and settled near the Khan El-Khalili bazaar.
Samia Gamal met Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Oriental Dance who invited her to join her dance company. Badia Masabni gave her the stage name Samia Gamal.
At first, she studied under Badia and Badia's star dancer at the time, Tahiya Karioka. However she soon became a respected soloist developing her own style, incorporating techniques from ballet and Latin dance into her solo performances.
She was also one of the first to perform with high-heeled shoes on stage. She starred in many Egyptian films next to the famous Farid Al Attrach with whom she was romatically linked. It is claimed that because of Farid's social position, he refused to marry Samia. Being a Druze prince it would bring too much shame to his family for him to marry a belly dancer. In 1949, Egypt's King Farouk proclaimed Samia Gamal "The National Dancer of Egypt", which brought US attention to the dancer.
Samia Gamal stopped dancing in 1972 when she was nearly in her 50s but began again after given advice by Samir Sabri. She then danced until the early 1980s. Samia Gamal died on December 1, 1994, at 70 years of age in Cairo, Egypt.
Farid Al Atrache with Layla Aljazayriya (?) singing Noura.
Farid El Atrache (October 19, 1915 - December 26, 1974) (Arabic: فريد الأطرش) was a Syrian composer, singer, virtuoso oud player, and actor. He is one of the most important names of twentieth century Arab music. He starred in 31 Egyptian musical films from 1941 - 1974.
Over his lifetime, Farid he recorded approximately 350 songs. He composed music for such famous singers as Wadih El-Safi, Shadia, Warda, and Sabah. Some of the most famous songs include "Rabeeh", "Awal Hamsa", "Hekayat Gharami", "Albi Wa Moftaho", "Gamil Gamal", "Wayak", "Ya Zahratan Fi Khayali", "Busat Ir Rih", "Ya Gamil Ya Gamil", "Ya Habaybi Ya Ghaybeen", "Eish Inta". He is considered by many Arab musicians as the best oud player of all time. His songs are still used in many belly dance routines today. His voice and emotional singing style was unique. Farid is still one of the most imitated singers in Arabic music.
Throughout his singing career, he was admired for his vocal range and singing ability. Many of his songs, and nearly all of his concerts, Farid would sing a mawal, or voice improvisation of a few poetic lines. These improvisations sometimes lasted up to 35 minutes. The mawal was a favorite of his fans, as his musical creativity and vocal ability were on highest display. His music is famous for it's quality of "Tarab" or ecstasy, and isloved by dancers for that reason.
His last movie, Nagham Fi Hayati, was released after his death. All his films except the last two were black and white. They ranged from comedies to dramas. Farid composed all the songs in his movies, including the songs sung by other singers, and instrumentals. Some of Farid's famous movies include Intisar al-Shabab, Yom Bila Ghad, Ahd el-Hawa, and Lahn al-Kholoud.
His sister Asmahan, also a famous singer, died at a very young age. He was romantically linked with the famous dancer Samia Gamal with whom he starred in at least five films.
Tahiya Karioka (aka Carioca) - 1915 to 1999 - was one of the most famous early dance stars, performing in movies with Mohammad Abd el Wahab and Farid Al Atrache. Tahiya became famous for performing a style of Brazillian Samba (Carioca) in the 1930s at Badia Massabni's Casino. It is claimed that Tahiya had 14 husbands.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
One of the most famous dancers of all time. Stunning.
Naima Akef (Arabic:نعيمة عاكف) born on 7 October 1929 was a famous Egyptian dancer during the Egyptian cinemas golden age and starred in many films of the time. Naima Akef was born in Tanta on the Nile Delta. Her parents were acrobats in the Akef Circus (run by Naima’s grandfather), which was one of the most well-known circuses at the time. She started performing in the circus at the age of four, and quickly became one of the most popular acts with her acrobatic skills. Her family was based in the Bab el Khalq district of Cairo, but they traveled far and wide in order to perform.
Tamra Henna (1957 - also spelt Tamr Henna) is an enduring Egyptian classic that features many prominent names from that era. Rushdy Abaaza was one of the most popular and accomplished actors of his time. It is the story of a young Ghaziya (an Egyptian Sintii Gypsy) who want's the finer things in life. She dances at the mawlids( a saint's day celebration in Egypt which is part of the Shi'ite tradition) near her betrothed's fair booth which is a strength testing booth. There is one man who seems to threaten his relationship with Tamra Henna - he is the rich son of a wealthy family and is engaged to his rich cousin because his father wishes to gain more wealth and land. However the son does not wish to marry his cousin for he has fallen in love with Tamr Henna.
His wealth attracts Tamra Henna's attention and eventually she pretends to be a wealthy niece of a friend of the son's family. She charms the father so much that he decides to seek her hand in marriage so that his son and him will both marry wealthy women and greatly increase their wealth and status. However things go wrong and in the end Tamra Henna realizes she does not need the wealth and was better of as a poor Ghaziya. A must see!
Sahra Saeeda's performance series has a truely wonderful interpretation of Tamra Henna and lot's of explaination about the move. http://www.sahrasaeeda.com/layaliyasmine/index.html
See Shira's site for lyrics: http://www.shira.net/lyrics/ya-tamrahenna.htm.
I highly recommend watching the original movie! In some ways is is similar to Romeo and Juliette.