Saturday, February 26, 2005


Cairo, February 25, 2005

Sabine, Mahmud Hamuda, Mango Guava juice and Television Gig

I had a few amazing discoveries yesterday – Sabine, Mahmud Hamuda and
mango guava juice.


Sabine is the wife of the legendary Misirli Ahmet the incredibly fast
dumbek virtuoso from Turkey.  The day before yesterday I was jamming in
this store and the owner called her so that she could hear me play over
the phone.

She came over yesterday and she ROCKS!  She has that Turkish double
thing down!  She only plays dumbek and I can tell she’s put lots and
lots of time into practicing.

She lives between Turkey and Egypt (where her family is) but she’s also
French and Syrian (or something like that).  She travels all over the
world performing.  She’s very beautiful and classy.  She doesn’t have
her own band yet, but she’s talking about putting together an all
female band.

Anyway, this girl has CHOPS!  Very different style from mine.  We
jammed on the maksum and then in karsilama.  She has long long fingers
like Natalia.  She speaks very highly of her husband and calls him her
“master”.  She describes him as very modest, humble and devoted.  He
doesn’t teach lessons – he just has a few disciples who he chooses to
teach for no money.

She only plays the clay drums with the skin heads.  She buys them here
from that guy I wrote about in my last blog.  I’m seriously thinking of
getting a dumbek from him.  Its $400 which seems like a lot here, but
its actually not so much for a great instrument.  I might try to
bargain with him.

I showed her my notation and she got a big kick out of it. She said I
should e-mail her some samples of it and she’ll show it to her husband!
She only stayed for an hour or so, but we exchanged contacts and if I
come here again or go to Istanbul I’ll call her and if she comes to NY
she’ll call me.

Mahmud Hamuda

I’ve also been hearing a lot about this guy Mahmud Hamuda.  He died two
years ago, but everyone speaks about him as the master of the classical
style dumbek playing .  Rami’s riq teacher was over yesterday and he
used to play with Hamuda and he started showing me some of his
technique on the dumbek.  They do the dum differently, the finger roll
differently, and they do a pop with the right hand.  Very cool stuff.
I wrote down a bunch of stuff and I planned another meeting with him to
get more material.

Mango Guava Juice

Yesterday I also discovered half mango half guava juice.  It’s like
heaven.  A large one costs about 10 cents.  I’m gonna drink as many as
possible while I’m here.


I got an interesting phone call from my Rababa teacher, Fikry.  He
asked if I would play with him on this very poplar television talk
show!  On the Rababba!  After only two lessons!  I said of course I
would.  He’ll find out the date and let me know.


We were supposed to meet with this Henkish superstar dumbek guy
yesterday but we had to blow him off cause we were so busy with other
stuff!  Hopefully we’ll see him today.

Rami's Cousin's Party

Rami's cousin had an engagement party last night so instead of going to
Saiid's we went to the party.  AMAZING food and very fun group of
people. Rami's cousins are all gorgeous.  We played for them and they
were so into it - they were all clapping and ululating and dancing.!

Rami and his cousins

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