Nancy Mounir – Khalif Khalif

Softly softly
An arrogant man
Has made my nights darker than carob

Nancy Mounir is an Egyptian composer, part of Cairo’s new wave. This is from her debut album Nozhet El Nofous (translated to “Promenade of the Souls”), out June 3rd on Simsara Records. Using archival recordings of once-famed singers from Egypt at the turn of the 20th century, and seamlessly adding her own ambient arrangements, the album explores the tension between modernity and the warmth of familiarity. To hear a culturally sincere exploration of harmony against the backdrop of these traditionally monophonic styles is deeply refreshing, especially when it’s done without the slightest hint of novelty.

This song uses as its foundation a lost recording of late singer and kanun player Saleh Abdel Hay, and I suggest you fall down the rabbit hole and listen to more of his recordings after you preorder Mounir’s album. As lovely as Hay’s old recordings are, on “Khalif Khalif”, Mounir really succeeds in bringing out a rich sense of the harmonic current within the innate nostalgia of this old recording — and without overdoing it, or caricature of any kind. Really captivating stuff, this.

Nancy Mounir – “Khalif Khalif” (with Saleh Abdel Hay) (bc)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *