Scroll down for the list of songs
Port Said, gateway to the Red Sea and the Middle East, strategic portal to the fertile Nile valley and the sprawling Arabian desert, colorful gem of a city that overlooks the vast realm of Egypt, a land of fabulous natural wonders, man-made wonders and enchantment.

But there is much more. Perhaps nowhere else in the world does the ancient order meet the modern with more dramatic impact. Huddled among million dollar industries--shipping, oil, spices, foodstocks, mining and skills--lies a kind of "no man's land" into which most of the non-white classes are crammed. Here, in one of the most densely populated regions of the world, thousands of human beings from every corner of the world live in surroundings that defy description.

Here exotic women and mysterious men of every sort intermingle. Here peddlers, dancers, wandering musicians, beggars, soldiers of fortune, merchants, thieves, prostitutes, bakers, candlestick makers and drug addicts rub elbows. Here for western consumption, is embodied all the strange and titillating allure of the exotic Middle East.

Port Said is a place in which every individual can find something to suit his or her taste. It doesn't matter what one's favorite pastime or personal idea of pleasure may be. There are open markets where one can buy--or be fleeced--almost anything one wishes from soda pop to an oriental dagger or opium pipe. There are dancing girls who will perform their ancient ritual for a few modest coins (and for a little more will take you into their tent or hut for more enjoyable entertainment). An endless parade of native women fills the streets as they go to and from the market or home carrying urns, woven blankets or other burdens on their heads.

Almost at every turn there is a pottery merchant who piles his wares to all who cross his spot in the open street. Every now and then the wind wafts the familiar smell of the harbor through the crowded streets, reminding one that Port Said stands at the entrance to the Suez Canal, through which pours an endless caravan of vessels from all over the world. Occasionally you see a camel alongside a streamlined automobile, one of the most striking reminders that co-existence of the old and the new is still very real.

And through it all runs the pattern of music, a fascinating and distinctive variety of primitive instruments and equally primitive forms of vocal expression. Compared with western music, modern Egyptian music has changed little from the music of the ancient world. There is a good deal of repetition, but this is one of the elements that makes Egyptian music somewhat ritualistic, and much more interesting to listen to. Even today, for the most part, no fixed harmony or notation is used. The scale is a quarter tone, rather than the western diatonic half tone, scale.

Like ancient Egyptian music, the modern variety makes much use of a large variety of instruments, including drums, flutes, bells, cymbals, castanets, clarinets, oboes and strings. Also, a considerable number of different kinds of percussion sticks are used to accompany the music and singing.

The music in this recording, typical of authentic Egyptian style, is the kind you will hear in every native setting, either with or without dancing. Some of it harks back to the ancient slave market, when maidens performed sensuous and provocative dances to the accompaniment of native bands of musicians. It is untamed and raw, but orthodox.

In the main, Egyptian music is always dance music. It is usually lively, even though it may be sad in mood. Countless generations, through joy and suffering, have contributed to the musical art of this land. The earthiness of dancing girl and beggar breathe with equal eloquence and power in the music you hear in Port Said, for time has passed without essentially changing these simple hearts who live their lives with dance and song.

1) Port Said
(Port Said)

2) Sauda Sauda
(Dark Eyes)

3) Bint Il Geran
(Girl Next Door)

4) Banat Iskandaria
(Girls of Alexandria)

5) Al Jazayair
(Dance of Algiers)

6) Hela Hope
(Be Careful of Love)

7) Haun Meelee
(Sway Here)

8) Balady
(Native Girl)

9) Rahks Port Said
(Dance of Port Said)

10) Hygalo
(They Say I Love Her)

11) Geena Ghanneelak
(I Sing of Thee)

12) Ah Ya Zain
(Beautiful One)

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