Friday 24 October 2008

Scratchy old records from the Arabic speaking world

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.


Anonymous said...

When I go to the Boo mp3 page, it's just a list of links, none of which lead to a place where I can download or listen to the tracks.

Anonymous said...

beautiful songs - but cna you indicate better which songs belong to which? are the pouran songs the one before her? or after? its all kinda jumbled, and the divshare interface doesnt help much. thanks alot - i'll try to help however i can.

Anonymous said...

hey - here's what i dug up on the record after the pouran using the power of askmetafilter:

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).

Mr Tear said...

Thanks to the anonymous poster who found out the info on the 3rd of these glorious records.

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I'm the person who answered the question on Ask Metafilter. All of the unknown songs are Persian.

The two songs from the dark blue record labeled "Golden Record" are by Roohparvar. I'm not sure about the titles, though (the title on the record is something like "Pedare Asheghi Besoze").

And the last two songs (from the lighter-blue single) are by Ramesh; the first is "Sheytoonak," and the second is "Ghariba."

Mr Tear said...

Thanks again for your effort in finding out about these tunes - ask metafilter...what agreat idea! I'm glad you liked them, and there are 6 more of these singles to be posted in the coming months so keep checking back.

Morocco Time said...

I got more info from Jadi (, asking about the same AskMe question:

"The Anonymouse is right. The song is from Pouran. The song with the siren in it, is called "fireman" . The woman calls the fireman and asks for help about a "fire" but the fire is in the heart of the man :)

The one with the Golden Records on it, is the "rooh Parvar"
روح پرور
. I have not heard this song yet and going to listen to it right now . Thank you for the good post and renewing old memories :)"

Sam said...

Actually after listening to this again, I realized one of these was the same artist as the 45 that arrived for me today. The one with the jews harp sounding intro, one of them labeled arabic 1, seems I bought a record from the same artist. Still no clue who it is, but a funny coincidence.

mietek said...

and for anyone's convenience, here are all 8 songs, their sound cleaned a bit, in one zip file:

Mr Tear said...

Thanks Mietek, great job and much appreciated. Got a load more of these singles that I should be posting soon.

negrefluix said...

this is one of the best blogs i've ever seen! great taste, great selection and great info. i love to see people involved in helping out to find out the artist of those records! Thans to all of you! downloading, can't wait to listen to them!

Mr Tear said...

Thanks Leti, hope you're enjoying the songs :)

Anonymous said... we are..found ye.

Siren tune is ace..etc.

Another persian tune

I wouldn't want to be married to 'er.


Anonymous said...

Hi again, you inspired me to get a blog I'd had in the works finally started.


erik said...

Any chance to get a re-up on these? Thank you in advance...

Anonymous said...

I would also love a re-upload, these tracks sound fascinating.