These pieces of vinyl were picked up over 10 years ago in a dirty old second hand shop. They were in a box, surrounded by knick-knacks, broken furniture and old tins filled with gaudy costume jewellery. I bought them for pennies, took them home and played them a couple of times, since then they've sat in a box in my house, surrounded by knick-knacks and broken furniture. The other day I found them, cleaned them up and played them again, hearing them with new ears. I like these scratchy old records. With the cd we're offered the promise of perfect sound forever, but I don't generally want that. I like the imperfection of old vinyl. Maybe its a fetish on my part, but the crackly sounds of old records serve to remind me that these commodities have TRAVELLED...across borders and through time. They've rested awhile in one place or another and then moved on and in the process they've witnessed a changing world. I sometimes like to think of the stories these objects might tell me, of the places they've been and the people they've met. These particular old records come from the Arabic speaking world...this is Arabic pop music from the '50s and '60s and how they came to end up in a junk shop is anyone's guess.
(Somebody has mentioned that this page is confusing, so just to clarify...the label photographs are followed by the songs from that record, ie this photo is of the label of the Om Kalsoum single and the two songs are side 1 and side 2. Hope this helps.)
Om Kalsoum was one of Egypt's most popular singers and her voice is wonderful on these two moody songs.
Pooran was a popular singer in Iran throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s. I'm loving the two songs on this 7", especially side 1 with its air raid siren and dubby echoes. This stuff feels a bit like its beemed in from another planet...Iran of the 1960s possibly?
Anonymous wrote: "Just so you know, these songs aren't Arabic, they're Persian. The first song is "Sheytoonak" (شیطونک), and the second is "Ghariba" (قریبه), both from the album "Darya Darya" (دریا دریا). The singer is Ramesh (رامش)." Thanks to him for the info!
I have no idea about these last two singles, who they're by or where they're from is a complete mystery. Please comment if you can enlighten me. In the meantime, enjoy these transmissions from a forgotten world.
Note added 29/11/08:
Still not been able to find out who the mystery records are by, but just read a lovely post about Umm Kalthum (or Om Kalsoum as she appears on this record) over at Babe(b)logue. You can read it here, and there's also a whole album of her best recordings to be downloaded.