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Hamza El Din: A Nubian Musician’s Endeavor to Preserve His Culture

November 18, 2021

Who could have guessed that a national railroad employee’s music would captivate audiences across the globe, from Egypt to Japan? Such is the beauty of talents born in Egypt; their stories inspire feelings that anything is possible if a true desire to shine exists. The late Nubian musician Hamza El Din is one of those stories. Born in Nubia in 1929, El Din’s passion for music began serving a higher purpose after the Aswan High Dam flooded a large portion of ancient Nubia, which forced his family to leave his hometown of Toshka and move to Cairo. This consequently compelled him to preserve Nubian culture through his talent. He did so by playing the oud (a 12-string instrument), which wasn’t traditionally used for Nubian music; however, he had felt that the oud had a “Nubian accent.” In his pursuit of preserving Nubian culture, he travelled through the villages of Egypt on a donkey to gather songs from his homeland and studied Arabic music at the King Fouad Institute for Middle Eastern Music and the Ibrahim Shafiq Institute of Music. He also studied Western music and classical guitar in Rome with…

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