Various Artists: Music of Upper & Lower Egypt

Album Notes

Recorded in 1978 by Mickey Hart, the Grateful Dead's drummer, during a tour of Egypt. The recording features traditional Egyptian folk music.

On the Mickey Hart production The Music of Upper and Lower Egypt, six examples of Egyptian folk music are presented. Of the album's six tracks, four were recorded on Mosquito Island in Aswan, Egypt, and two were cut in Alexandria. All tracks were recorded during the Grateful Dead's 1978 Egyptian Tour. Songs about a variety of subjects, including religion ("Allah"), beauty ("The Bride"), and heroism ("Nugumi"), are recited by male singers and accompanied by sounds from the mizmar (single-pipe reed instrument), tabla baladi (two sided drum), darabouka (goblet-shaped hand drum), and tambura (five stringed lyre). Although these six tracks reveal stunning performances and the recording quality is well above reproach, the liner notes are a bit confusing, uneven, and sketchy. For example, the names of the performers are nowhere to be found, though Mickey Hart's appellation appears twice. All in all, The Music of Upper and Lower Egypt sounds fabulous, yet suffers slightly from spaced out liner notes. ~ John Vallier


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