مشاهدة جميع الاصدارات : Fakkaruni (Qasr al-Nil 04-05-1967)

24-11-2007, 15:13
This concert is probably one of the best renditions of Fakkaruni, supposedly the seventh in public performance. This says it all : an "easy" song, with easy sentences, hardly the complex and intricate melodic paths one is to find in 1940s and 1950s songs.
This is a first wasla, a good spot for a song in UK's late sixties recording (ever noticed how first waslas in the 50s are not always the best, and how in the late sixties they're on the contrary the place where her voice is still nice ?).
Obviously, Umm Kulthum was delighted to sing Fakkaruni this very night, she was in a good mood (for the last time, one month before the war), and she kept looking for alternative phrasings in a song she had already performed at least six times.
She really does a good job in the 3rd ghusn of the song, with this delicious short impro (merely a ah) in bayyati on rythm sa3idi ("inversed" masmudi kabir), 3 times in a row, the first at 41'59, the second at 42'48, the third at 46'48.
Then come two really beautiful and long non-metric impros on "elli fat weyyak", at 49'36, immediately starting as an impro, alternating bayyati and higaz after the "regular" nahawand cmposed sentence, with an attentive and skillful Muhammad Abduh Salih helping her. Note a wonderful "welli 3eshto ma3ak" at 51'22, slightly kurdi then back to bayyati. A very enjoyable version of a late song, in spite all the weaknesses this very notion implies.

This recording was kindly given by Kamal, whom we cannot thank enough for his patient daily recording of Idha3at al-Aghani.

25-11-2007, 00:47
Thank you Kamal and Fred. To me, this is the best performance I've heard by Om Kulthoum of any of Wahab's compositions. What adds to the "specialty" of this recording is that it was in 1967, which is very late in Om Kulthoum's career.
The whole atmosphere of the concert is very nice --- once again: how on earth wasn't this chosen as the commercial version? And this brings to my mind another question: if most people who love Om Kulthoum do so based on the commercial versions of her songs, then god knows what they'd do if they heard the real Om Kulthoum!

I'd add to what Fred has pointed out:
1. the way she says "Kelmetein" at 27' 42".
2. the second time she repeats (with alterations) "Elle Fat Wayyak" around minute 54, she
does very beautiful stuff:
a. the qanun accompaniment at 55' 16" is very nice
b. the maqam change at 55' 25" is very moving, and thanks to Fred, I've learned that
this was a switch from Bayati to Higaz.
c. The way she says "Regea't" at 56' 08" is beautiful.
3. the violin solo at 1 hour and 34 seconds is very nice. The audience rightly requests

Overall a very nice performance by the lady at a time when her voice was past its prime.

Thanks again to Kamal and Fred.


25-11-2007, 01:33
I join my voice to Luay's to thank Kamal and Fred for this very beautiful and clear recording of "Fakkarouni". And thank you both for your comments. I'm learning a lot about maqams when I read Fred's posts cause I can't say I am an expert in defining them.

However, it seems kind of consistent that the maqam that is closest to my heart is the rast cause every time I ask someone about the maqam of an Umm Kulthum's song or part of song that I like, it turns out to be rast!!! Can anyone explain to me why? Is it because it's so full of quarter tones?

I do like the improvisations Umm kulthim makes in this song, particularly the shorter ones that Fred pointed at. They might not be as extensive and intricate as the long ones, but they are certainly full of Tarab. I find that as of the early to mid 60s, Umm Kulthum started to use emphatic short variations on one word or syllable rather than long, virtuosic, and maqam-intricate impros to colour her performances. This simply shows how smart and great artist she was to be aware and accepting of her vocal limitations that resulted from old age. Yet, she was able to provoke reactions from her audience similar to those in her earlier more glorious years.

I totally agree that this version of "Fakkarouni" makes for a better commercial version that the current one. I wonder why most of the commercial versions lack impros. By doing so, one of Umm Kulthum's greatest virtues and trademarks. Most of the young generations can't stand Umm Kulthum because she repeats the same thing over and over. I believe Sawt el Qahira is partly responsible because they don't know how to present the best image of Umm Kulthum....anyway, I'm digressing.

I was always ambivalent about the song "Fakkarouni". It has very beautiful lyrics, and some melodic lines are quite beautiful, like the second part of the musical intro (maybe change of maqam), especially the line preceding the beginning of singing; the line of "welli 3eshtou ma3ak, rege3t a3ish 3aleih"; and "leih niddaya3 3omrina hagr w khissam". But some other parts are simply too mediocre for a singer of Umm Kulthum's caliber, especially the iqa3 in the 3rd ghusn that is more suitable to night club belly dancing.

What do you guys think of the "Fakkarouni" versions of Tunis and Baalbeck 1968? She does really beautiful impros there as well.



25-11-2007, 02:23
What do you guys think of the "Fakkarouni" versions of Tunis and Baalbeck 1968? She does really beautiful impros there as well.

Dear Alfred,
We had some extensive discussions of the lady's concerts in Tunis and Lebanon in other threads. The main problem with most of these concerts was that there were many "clowns"
in the audience, who seemed to want to get attention. There was so much hysteria in many
of these concerts. I remember watching on video the Tunis Ba'eed A'nnak concert, which she sang in about an hour and a half. Many people in the audience were ridiculous: every time she said "ah", they went crazy, shouted, and whistled,....

I think a main reason behind this was that Om Kulthoum was there very rarely, so people went crazy that she was there singing live in front of them on stage. Have you ever seen parts of the Paris concert? They were applauding her (before starting singing) for a long time that she had to stand and thank them several times before the musicians could even
start playing the music! Now, it's nice that people appreciated her, but that took away from the quality of the concert.

Overall, my personal opinion that her best concerts outside Egypt were the ones in Syria. The audience was more restrained there. But also, a major factor in the Syria concerts was the songs she sang; she sang some of the "heavyweights" there: Gaddedte Hobbak Leh, Sahran, Yalli Kan Yeshgik, Ya Dhalimni, Ahli-l-Hawa, Dhikrayat, Dalili-Htar,.. (all of which are on the forum and you can listen to).

Best regards,

25-11-2007, 02:28
But some other parts are simply too mediocre for a singer of Umm Kulthum's caliber, especially the iqa3 in the 3rd ghusn that is more suitable to night club belly dancing.

This is why I wrote on several occasions, tongue in cheek, that Wahab was composing music for Suheir Zaki to dance...
Wahab always talked about Om Kulthoum "qafla harraqa", as he used to call it, and how people used to say "allah ya sett", etc. However, he failed to say that these phrases really
apply to Om Kulthoum when she sang Qassabji, Zakariya and Sunbati, and not when she
sang his songs :-)

But still, he was still restrained in Fakkarouni compared to Hadhihi Laylati, Daret El Ayyam and Leilet Hobb.
Further, I don't want to take away from the lady's performance in this concert: she did very nice stuff.


25-11-2007, 05:29
Thanks Luay for your feedback and info! As you might know, I'm new to this forum and there are a loooooooot of threads spreading over more than 10 pages and discussing Umm Kulthum. I apologize if my posts are repetitive to you and some others; please bear with me. I haven't had the chance to either read all of them or to listen to all of the jewels that have been uploaded. In a way, I still can't believe that these songs are available for the public! I kind of lost hope quite a while ago, and my presence in Canada did not help.

I agree that the audience overexcitement takes away from the quality of the singing, but it also adds some pizzazz. I think Umm Kulthum likes this excitement of the public cause it stimulates her. The matter of fact is that even in her old age, she was able to give stellar renditions in the Arab countries she toured in 1968, especially Morocco and Kuwait.

I haven't had the chance to listen to all the songs she sang in Syria, except for ya zalemni, ahl el hawa, zikrayat, rouba3iyyat el khayam, and Arou7 le meen, and I agree they are exceptionally beautiful, but I would argue that they are all the best renditions. At least for Zikrayat and arou7 le meen, the performances in Aley are, in my opinion, better; as to "Ya zalemni", my favorite is the one in Rivoli on Oct 20, 1955.

Since you are such an expert, can you tell me why Umm Kulthum didn't sing in Syria in the 1960s? Is it due to the disintegration of the unity with Egypt? Or is it because Fairuz became the star of the Damascus International Festival? When was the last time Umm Kulthum sang in Egypt?

Also, you mentioned Paris concerts! Are they available on video? if yes, how can we buy them? Thanks in advance.



25-11-2007, 10:22
@ Alfred :
I would tend to disagree on the "added pizzazz" factor in late sixties hafalaat kharigiyya : to me, UK didn't need that much noise and hysteria to produce quality music. It had something to do with the rarity of her presence indeed, see for instance the loud and unruly audience in the Tanta concert of Hadhihi Laylati, which is as bad as the Tunisian, Morrocan or Lebanese audience. The Morrocan concerts, as a rule, are probably the best exterior renditions in the late 60s, better than Baalbek, but they're still disparadged by the overexcited audience.

Fakkaruni Tunis and Baalbek : there are very interesting bits in those concerts (P3 kallemuni tani 3annak, P4 ya habibi), but the voice is not as fresh as in this may 1967 rendition, the sound quality is at best "acceptable", when not plain "awful", and the audience sickeningly hysterical.

You mentioned the Paris concerts : no videos are available in the commerce to my knowledge, but it is possible in Egypt to buy the cassettes of Al-Atlal (not the "falling lady concert", the other one), Fat el-Ma3ad and Amal Hayati Paris. You will find all those concerts on the forum of our friend Ra'uf, "Nahawand", plus the Ba3id 3annak Paris concert, which is not commercially available. But the Paris concerts are mediocre, all of them, totally uninteresting when compared to Rabat or Tunis or Baalbek.

Lebanese and Syrian concerts : I disagree with Luay on his notion that Damascus concerts are generally the best rendition of a song : we don't know yet all the "home" concerts (Azbakiyya, Cinema Opera), and we seem to discover these days 1950s Cairo concerts that are as wonderful, if not better, than the exterior concerts. See how we used to consider Ahl el-hawa Damascus 1958 as the jewel of jewels, then discovered, thanks to Idha3at al-Aghani, unbelievable Egyptian concerts. But indeed, Damascus and Aley are very often *among* the best renditions. I cannot see any explanations for Umm Kulthum not visiting Damascus in the 60s except political ones : after the breaking up of the United Arab Republic, it would have been difficult for an Egyptian "official" artist (since this is what she was) to sing in the Sancuary of Baathism. The same applies to Baghdad.

The posting of post-1964 concerts on this forum is exceptionnal : we tend to upload almost all the concerts of the 1950s we can get hold of, but only the best of the best when it comes to post 1964 UK, this is why our posting of Fakkaruni is a rare exception. A member asked me recently if a posting of a good rendition of Daret el-Ayyam was "halaal" on the Forum : my position would be negative ; the "best" Daret el-Ayyam (that is, the best of the worst) is the Baalbek concert, and even that is not Zaman al-Wasl material in my opinion, so I'm afraid there won't be any Daret el-Ayyam on this forum at all, unless Luay, co-moderator in this section, green-lights it. I feel it should be exchanged privately between members who are interested.

Aru7 le-min Aley : I don't think I've ever heard that, it's not on the forum, is it ? But I doubt it can be as good as the premiere of Aru7 le-min, which, unexpectedly, is full of wonderful improvisations.

Your question "when was the last time UK sang in Egypt" (or maybe you meant Syria) : all this is answered with details in the Atef al-Mawlid / Muwallad / Muwallid's (anybody knows how to read this guy's name ???) list of all concerts :
It is not trustable for the 1930s and 1940s period, but fairly accurate for the mid-50s, 60s and 70s. Mahmud and Kamal have already signalled the main mistakes in it, and we hope to provide a revised version at some point.

25-11-2007, 10:47
You mentioned the Paris concerts : no videos are available in the commerce to my knowledge.

Alfred: there are snippets of the concert on YouTube. Also, there's an interview with the lady after the Paris concert.

Lebanese and Syrian concerts : I disagree with Luay on his notion that Damascus concerts are generally the best rendition of a song : we don't know yet all the "home" concerts (Azbakiyya, Cinema Opera), and we seem to discover these days 1950s Cairo concerts that are as wonderful, if not better, than the exterior concerts.

I agree Fred, but this is why I wrote "...her best concerts outside Egypt...".

I cannot see any explanations for Umm Kulthum not visiting Damascus in the 60s except political ones : after the breaking up of the United Arab Republic, it would have been difficult for an Egyptian "official" artist (since this is what she was) to sing in the Sancuary of Baathism. The same applies to Baghdad.

I agree with this. Fairouz had nothing to do with it --- Om Kulthoum kept singing in Fariouz's own country, Lebanon, so it wouldn't make sense that she stopped singing in
Damascus because of her. Also, I don't know if you've heard the song (by Om Kulthoum) B-ismi Meen Ya Kharegin A'-Shaa'b (translate: "in whose name, you, walking out on the people") which she sang after the breakup of the UAR, and had very "harsh" lyrics. As is well-known, the lady liked Nasser so much and believed in everything he was doing, so I can imagine she didn't take the breakup lightly.


26-11-2007, 00:45
Thank you Fred and Luay for the valuable info and opinions:D I'm really happy that I'm learning a lot from you. You two are great moderators.

I know the reason why the audience in most of the exterior concerts were hysterical because of the rarity of Umm Kulthum's appearance in these countries (I guess Lebanon got the lion share in that it was the country outside Egypt where Umm Kulthum sang the most)- but can we really blame them? I mean look at how hysterical the audiences are nowadays when a mediocre singer makes a prestation on stage. I have 45-90 min video documentaries of Umm Kulthum's visits to Morocco and Tunis, and the welcome festivities she received were beyond the theatre and arenas where she sang. In general, I would say the public's overexcited reaction put Umm Kulthum in a good mood, although I would also agree that it can distress her. I have been told that during her performance of Ya Zalemni at the Unesco in Beirut (1955), the audience's hysterical attitude bothered her and impeded her "saltana". Apparently, one guy kept on banging his head to the wall to the point they had to take him out of the theatre. Of course, this might just one of these stories that Umm Kulthum's ultra aficionados might like to perpetuate, but it just highlights the fact that not all audiences are well tamed. In general, Syrians have the nice reputation of being extremely well behaved and critical audience.

Fred, I agree with you re the sound quality of Baalbeck and Tunis concerts, but from a strictly artistic pespective, her renditions of Fakkarouni can be considered among the best for this particular song. I am not a fan of large audiences ( > 3,000) and open space concerts for a singer like Umm Kulthum. The sound quality can not be perfect even nowadays, let alone in the 1960s, and large attendance takes away from the intimate dyamic relationship between Umm Kulthum and her audience.

Regarding "Arou7 Le meen", based on a quick check of what is uploaded in this forum, I can safely confirm it is not one of these performances, unless I missed one or my ear betrayed me. It is allegedly the performance of Aley, 1959. However, I have my doubts because the date says December 23 1959. Aley is 750 m up in the mountains and I don't think this is where the concert would have taken place in this place at this time of the year (also a day before Christmas Eve). It could be the performance at Cinema Rivoli in Beirut, or not in Lebanon at all. Although, the hysterical crowd suggests it was in Lebanon:D

I don't know if this performance is better than the one in Azbakiyah 1958 cause I haven't had the chance to listen to the latter, but IMO, it's better than the one in Damascus. It is not a very long performance (it just falls short of one hour) and doesn't have extensive impros, but a short very beautiful one in the last ghusn (Arou7 le meen wa 2oul ya meen), but it has amazing taqaseems on the qanun and 3oud. You can hear the public hailing Kasabgi right after Abdo Sale7 finishes his taqaseem. You can also hear Umm Kulthum saying "3al do", probably asking Kasabgi to play on this key, and after he plays his first line, you can hear her laugh. May I upload it?

Luay: it's too bad that Umm Kulthum stopped singing in Syria for political reasons. As usual, the common people are the scapegoat:( I can only imagine that we would have had the best exterior concerts in the 1960s if Umm Kulthum did not "punish" the Syrian people. I have never heard of the song "Bi-Ism meen ya kharegeen A-shaab". Is it available anywhere? on this forum maybe? I'm actually quite surprised to learn this. In this case, do you think the Rahbanis took advantage of this situation to make Fairuz a national singer for Syria as well? Fairuz is an icon in Syria as much or even more than she is in Lebanon (she sang a lot of poems for Syria), and it will be interesting to analyze how this evolved (of course not here).

Wow...I feel revived!!!! I almost lost hope to find anything for Umm Kulthum more than what I had already gathered between 1993 and 2000 (the year I moved to Canada). I got so busy with my PhD studies that I even didn't have time to listen to what I have (mostly commercial recordings and a very few rare ones). I am so happy to have discovered this forum, where not only can I enjoy listening to Umm Kulthum's rare recordings, but also learn a lot from very critical listeners and connaisseurs.

Thanks again:)



26-11-2007, 23:43
I think the whole concert was nice and Thooma had a very nice mood
she sang "Fakarouni" 1st wasla
"Hadeeth elrooh" 2nd wasla for the 1st time
"Fat elma3ad" 3rd wasla and it was one of her best performance of this song

it was a nice night...

28-11-2007, 09:25
@ Alfred :
Concerning the uploading of Aruh le-min (Aley), this is acceptable only if your copy is not downloaded from one of the other forums, whether Sama3i or Zeryab or Nahawand or any other.
I finally found out that I do have an average copy of it, and it has nice taqasim in it and a good part 4, but it is not as impressive as the Première, which you should listen to !

28-11-2007, 12:18
wonder which of the musicians was moved by " elly 3eshtu ma'aak" of minute 58:13 saying allaah in the background ..i had the same reaction :)
Thanks kandis for this concert ...

29-11-2007, 02:59
Thanks Fred for the info: but unfortunately, the person who sent it me said it was from one of the websites you mentioned; so I guess I can't upload it.

I will listen to the premiere of Arou7 le meen, but I don't know where in the list I should put it. There are so many songs I want to hear, I'm so overwhelmed:)
During my "obsessive" years (1993-2000) of listening to Umm Kulthum, I had digested and memorized every single note of every song I have to the point that every time I found another version, I was like a child who has been given his best treat.

I think I will listen to the premiere of Arou7 le meen tomorrow, as this song has a special place in my heart. Beside being one of my favorites, it's one my mom's and grandmo's too. I can still hear my grandmother saying: "yi yi yi shou hal sarkha elli min el alb" when Umm Kulthums sings the last ghusn "Arou7 le meen w meen 7a yir7am assaya", and my mother swinging of tarab at her favorite composer's melody in the same ghusn:)