Right hand photo With Ud maker Sayed fathi Amin in Cairo

Revival of Pharaonic Music

In April 2007 the Lyre of Ur Project was invited to take part in a conference at Helwan University in Cairo, which had been organised by Professor Dr. Khairy Al Malt as part of an ongoing project to research and revive the ancient musical heritage of Egypt; and I attended on the group’s behalf (with the assistance of the Arts Council of England). The music of ancient Egypt influenced the development of music in many other parts of the world, and the conference speakers included specialists on ancient music, instruments and related subjects from Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and even Korea, as well as academics from Cairo itself.

After the conference I spent a week helping Professor Dr. Ricardo Eichmann from Berlin - an archaeologist and leading authority on ancient lutes - and staff and students from Helwan University to build reproductions of a pharaonic spike lute and a Coptic lute from the third century. I also visited the young Oud maker Sayed fathi Amin, a superb craftsman who had also worked on reproductions, and who had learned his craft from his father, in his workshop in Cairo. The kindness and generosity of the people I worked with in Egypt, as in Iran, were overwhelming; and the pharaonic music project could have great potential, not only for archaeological research, but as a focus for creative international co-operation.

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
Silver Spear Instruments
Jonathan Letcher
Ridge Farm
Bishop’s Castle
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