Mohammed Abdou: The Arabs' Singer (Saudi Arabia's Michael Jackson sans the dance)?. Special Ode-To Yazeed.net. - مــحــمـد عــبـدو.

Asalamo Alaikoum, الـسلام عـلـيكم... everybody.

The Saudi Desert at dusk is full of mystique and wonders!

And welcome south of the Jordanian border for we're about to visit one of the most bizarre yet amazing countries in the whole world. Known for its deserts, oil and rigid Islamic traditions, Saudi Arabia isn't what the average Joe-Blow who resides ideally in the west think it might be: it is a country that has witnessed one of the most dramatically rapid social changes in the history of mankind; from nomadic people who used to dwell in the desert, to skyscrapers-inhabiting, tech-dependent, educated modern people who went to the U.S. and the U.K. to study in the 70's and 80's during the height of the Oil Era as their counterpart Westerners had T.V. commercials that heralded how they were, "Bringin' Oil Back Home!"
Group of Saudi bedouins sitting sipping their chai or tea.
The vast desert in Saudia.
Talking about deserts... well, summer is already back again banging so hard at Jordan's doors. It's hotter than Dutch-love 'ere, I tell ya: temps can reach a spark-inducing 110 ºF which can leave ya swimming in yer own damn clothes in a sea of sweat. Saudi Arabia sets right there at the south of Jordan, near Egypt. In the past, the two countries were one and the same. There were no borders, and people had mixed familial ties and closer relations in a better, far-gone past. Bad blood ran between the two nations (thanks to imperialist contriving plans on the side of the Brits), and Arab oil states enjoyed an unprecedented continuity of wealth to a degree unknown since the 1950's Boom Generation in America while Jordan is still struggling as a 'gate' nation of mostly immies: Palestinian, Iraqi, and now... Syrian war immigrants).

Franklin D. Roosevelt meeting with King Abdel-Aziz in 1945.
This rising geo-political status and the large oil reserves that were explored at the early 20th Century, coupled with America's intervention in the region in the early 30's (Read these files and this interview to get a closer look at how it all started) created together the moniker 'Islamic Terrorism' in the 80's which has a direct link to the rise of militant Islam and extreme Islamism all for the sole benefit of a few 'players' in this game of death and greed. From the Iran crisis, to the Afghan-Arab "Bin Ladens", right to these new 'Arab Spring' days of so-called creative chaos held in the name of Democracy... there are going to be no winners in this bid of doom*.
A region burning with petrol and power-lust.

(*Read further the last part of this post where I discuss the origins of petrodiplomacy and powers behind the role of the west in the Arabian Gulf).

Last post's subject: Debke.
Anyways, blog-wise: it's been well over a whole week since the last debke-fest posts that I was glappy it had a posit e-reaction from most of yinz, dearest readers. I was  forced off blogistan, because I've been busy doing some other stuff. Still, all the while adding something to this post, writing it in inch-meal with much care and flair. I set my intent and hopes high to make this post a very extraordinarily special one, because of two reasons: one, the wealth of today's singer in terms of his musical works and achievements and his legacy among other Arab singers, and two: the wealth of his country in terms of petro-chemicals that played a major role in shaping the fates of many million Arabs throughout the region and not just Saudi Arabia and the many hidden secrets that still lie buried under tonnes of sand that I wanted more people to know about.
Afghanistani 'Taliban' in the 80's.
It will get even hotter tonight, trust me, as we're about to unravel these secrets little known since the early days of Saudi Arabia's beginnings but only after we discuss the country's music and heritage and read afterwards about one of the most exciting 'old-new' Arab pop singers who came from the Arabian Peninsula, or Al-Jazeerah Al-Arabiyah (الجزيرة العربية) as it's known before it became this vast hotbed for terrorist agendas bred and fed by American and British intelligence (some writers call it "Terroristan", "Trashcanistan", and the "Terroritory"). I wanted this post to be special so that people all over the globe and not just the Arab world in particular, may start to know more about Mohammed Abdou and his country sans any bullshack and Anglo-'Merrican political ballyhoo.

Singer Abdel-Halim Hafez.
Mohammed Abdou's name rings big in contemporary Arabic music circles in the Middle-east and North-Africa (MENA) region, and in the last 40 years or so, it became synonymous with giants like Mohammed Abdel-Wahab, Farid Al-Atrache, Umm-Kalthoum, and Abdel-Halim Hafez. Possibly, and for the record, he's there among the best. Again, this is just my humble-pie attempt to look at Mohammed Abdou's life and accomplishments from the very early beginnings of his career in the late 50's, right through these current times where he still holds some concerts around Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., mostly.
A screen-shot of Yazeed.net h/p.
I also wrote this post as a dedication to fellow Saudi blogger Yazeed (owner of yazeed.net), whose blog has one of the best attempts at documenting and presenting Middle-eastern pop singers, poets, artists, and culture. In all earnest and, 'aving said this much, I should first introduce you to the music of this vast, arid place called once Arabia Felix. And, then we shall get a closeup look at our singer's career, music, and life in extensive detail.
One of Yazeed's Mohammed Abdou cassettes.
The post is going to be so gigantic to say the least (YHBW: You Have Been Warned), because Mohammed Abdou's life and accomplishments were of sheer enormity and grandeur. Also, this timeless land of legends, myths, taboos, and mysticism (Saudi Arabia) is worth its musical salts because there is an abundance of singers and musical styles still undocumented in a fair way in that strato-theocratic moat-kingdom where art and music are looked down on as mere, base forms of anti-Islamic, or haram manifestations.

Old map of the Arabian Peninsula or 'Jazeerat Al-Arab'.
Abu Abdou's career was global: he went from Tuhama in 1964, to Hay Al-Nazlah in Jeddah and then bang to Rome, Italy, right to Beirut, Lebanon, and Cairo in Egypt... London, Geneva, Washington D.C. and L.A. and back to Jeddah again in 2004 where he gave a couple of concerts he called Fough Ham Al-Sahab/Kawkab Al-Ard (فوق هام السحاب/كوكب الأرض - Above The Clouds/Planet Earth) signalling that he wasn't just the Arabs' Singer as he was nicknamed by Tunisian president Al-Habib Bo'rqibah in the mid-80's but this global phenomena that deserves his own separate blogpage at the Audiotopia.

Fahd A'afat.
That nickname alone spells it all in bold font as our singer was also given other nicknames; one as the 'Godfather of Tarab', and because of his similarity in his looks when he was young to M.J., some fans called him the Michael Jackson of Saudi Arabia. Writer, journo, and famous Saudi poet Fahd A'afat (فهد عافت) wrote many poems for Mohammed Abdou, and in this short poemlet below called 'Umniat': أمنيات, or 'Wishes' he nicked him the 'Golden Legend':

Wishes - أمنيات
"He is a legend made of gold (thahab)
هـو أسـطـورة مـن ذهـب
In his past there is Tarab
في ماضيه طرب
And his present is bold (

وفي حاضره شغب
His story is too long to be told

الحديث عنه يطول
And I feel tired, and I am getting old.
وأنا قد أعياني التعب."

In concert with Al-Ferqa Al-Masyiah, 80's.
Very well said, as his story is really hard to begin to tell. I shall also mention before I start that you're to get tonight over one hundred of Mohammed Abdou's albums made up from most of his famous earlier stuff and live cassettes, in addition to rare recordings and a handful of live concert albums and many jalsah (جلسة: live oud-playing set) ones. So, why not begin by introducing you to the very roots of his music? Let's begin, shall we?

Intro: The History of Music in Pre-Oil Saudi Arabia.

Leiden Museum's wax recordings.
Saudi Arabia has a history of music that is said to be one of the oldest and first ever recorded in the Arab region. In the period between 1906-1909 a Dutch spy, ethnographer, Islamologist, and Orientalist named C. Snouck Hurgronje (Christiaan Snouck, alias Abdul-Ghaffar) was commissioned as Indonesia's ambassador of colonies' cultures, and he went to Mecca in Saudi Arabia armed with one of Edison's first wax-cylinder recording devices to record some musicians there and take photographs in the holiest place for Muslims considered as a 'Forbidden' sanctum where foreigners could be killed at first sight. During his visits, he disguised himself as an Arab (Abdel-Ghaffar) in order to mix in with the crowds without getting caught, but later he converted to Islam and married according to some sources many wives (five in total, his last was an Ethiopian woman who got him a child in late 1918).
Snouck Hurgronje (R), as Abdul-Ghaffar (L), early 1900's.

Snouck's photograph of Saudi singers.
These records weren't the first Arab records known to ethnomusicologists: Harvard Prof. Benjamin Gilman's recordings of Javanese music using a phonograph in a theatre in Ottoman-ruled Istanbul in 1893 are believed to be the first. But, Snoucke's early wax cylinders that he recorded in the period between 1906 and 1920 were of an exceptional quality and they were all shipped back to Jakarta in Indonesia and from there to the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde) in Leiden, south of Holland where that collection still lay there as yet another unpublished artwork of impeccable magnificence and extreme rarity.
A pictures of old Mecca circa 1890s.
Technically speaking, these records didn't get past the three-minute limit because the wax cylinders can only take up to three-minute of music on each face. Mostly, they featured some athan (الأذان - prayer call) recorded right from the Mecca mosque (Al-Harram Al-Makki - الحرم المكي), and some Quranic-verse readings by Yemenite reciter and maddah (مداح - adulator) Jaber Ahmad Rizq with some eloquent majrour (مجرور: poetic recitals done in stand-up settings usually at night that can stretch for hours), danat (دانات: mundane, 8/4 music referred to singularly each as a 'pearl' or dana - دانة, that came from the Hijaz region in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula), tazhied (تزهيد: ascetic singing of Islamic verses and poetry), and what is called mejissat ghenayiah or mejass (مجسات/مجس, literally 'probes': two, four, six, or seven-couplet poetic verses sung mostly in weddings and special traditional dances).

Old pictures of Mecca in the early 20th century.

All of these musical styles stem from the olden mawrouth (موروث), and Hijazi mawal and ghazal music which can go back to maybe 800-900 years if not more. The richness of these early recordings was due to the fact that Mecca (and by result, the whole of Saudi Arabia) was the meeting point where many hajeej or hujjaj (حجاج/حجيج - Pilgrims) went there to fulfill their religious duty known as the Hajj. The Hajj season made it possible for many Yemenis and Indonesians who were traders-by-nature to stay at Mecca and open their shops there, choosing it as their final home. Most of them came from Hadramout (حضرموت) and San'a in Yemen, and Java (جاوة) Indonesia and many Saudis still have strong Yemeni roots (I once lived with a bunch of Yemeni-Saudis, and one guy had 6 different passports! They were cool, fo'reals) which is really the reason why this land was so rich in music.
Saudi Bedouin.
Bedouin sword daheyya dance. 1919.
Saudi music, or for that matter, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula or Jazeerah music is not documented at all: it is next to impossible to find any old, authentic records (known as istwanat hajari - إسطوانات حجرية) of that early period. The styles are hardly documented, too and nothing is known about the origins of most of the old singing styles. Some of the old dances are still practiced today which vary from a'ardah - عرضة, daheyya - داحية and sameri - سامري (singing and sword line-dancing styles of bedouin origins known to exist in Jordan as well as Tabouk in northern Saudi Arabia and Najd), to radhi - ردحي, herabi - حرابي (two singing and dancing styles sometimes using weapons like carbine rifles and swords), sahba - صهبة, sana'ani - صنعاني, and rudman - ردمان: joyous tawasheeh singing styles uniquely Yemenite sung based on two maqams; the Rakbi, and Al-Mashawrigh which give out two other sub-maqams, namely; the Husseini and the Bayati Masri and Bayati Souri (Egyptian/ Syrian), in addition to many dances and bedouin poetry.
A Saudi bedouin kheimah, or tent, 1950's.
Other maqamat are the Yamani Sika, Saba, Banjakah, Beshaour, Nairouz Kard, Masmoudi, Farah, Fiza, Zinjaran. These maqamat are scales that are sung according to old poetic meters called terough or, tawareegh - طروق/طواريق, that are said to have come from pre-Islamic days or Jahiliyah. Most of the Arabian Peninsula's poetry is inherited from the pre-Islam poets whose poetry is still read and sung all around the Arab world. The words are written into songs which are again danced to in many various formations, and to many different beats courtesy of two drums especially in a'ardah dance: takhmier (bigger drums), and tathlith (smaller ones). These drums are usually kept for hours under the scorching heat of the sun to soften the skin before being played (or, sometimes are exposed to bonfire that can have some daemonic correlations to their playing, but this isn't studied).
A'ardah dance, late 60's picture.
A dancing group of Saudi singers.
Other styles came from African origins and the nearby regions like Egypt and Nubia such as the ghajari - غجري (gypsy music), the simsimyah - سمسمية, and khbieti - خبيتي (the second's based on sea chants sung using the well-known diatonic simsimyah lyre that Sudanese people, Nubians, Jordanians in Aqaba, and Sinai Egyptian gypsies use in their songs, and the latter is sung using a well-formed, upbeat rhythm which grows into a zar-like crescendo as the audience also sometimes join in the singing which is sung by a group of sitting men), and other lesser-known styles like al-hadri - الحضري (men-only majlis singing style that came from the mountainous regions and the desert, or badia based on the majrour singing style), and al-Ounboa'aoui - الينبعاوي (from Ounboa'a sahel region. This style's also sung using the simsimyah).

Two Saudis holding
a hand-drum. 1900's.
Yemeni music is said to be the oldest in the entire region. Its history can be traced to 8000 years ago way before any civilization on earth had invented a musical characteristic of its own, and it influenced Sudanese music and gave birth in return to almost all African rhythms and musical meters which is where modern Jazz and Blues music came from. The surviving Yemenite styles today that are still being played in Saudi Arabia are the zamil/zoumal - زامل (plural: zawameel - زواميل), which is a responsorial antiphonal singing style, and Yamani Al-Kaf (يماني الكف) that has an accompaniment of hand-clapping to it. Some Yemeni poetry is also sung in Saudi jalsat, or settings and these are often played with oud and qambus.
Mecca in 1889.
Sudanese music and dances like the bambila - بامبيلا, tambourah - طمبورة, and al-liwah - الليوة are still played in Saudi Arabia and most of the Jazeerah, too. Sudanese gave Saudis their Afro-drums like the big banto, mesondo, and smaller ones like the batu. Other drums are the mirwas - مرواس (believed to have come from India. This small skin drum is held in a cupping clutch with one hand and is beat with the fingertips of the other in what's known as takseer - تكسير, or fast breaks. It's played by sailors in long pearl-diving journeys and in jalsat of tarab music around the Al-Ahsa region, mostly), and the hand-held, larger mirfa'a - المرفاع drum.
Negro Musicians in Mecca , 1888.

Saudi bedouin falconer 1955.
Desert nomads sung mostly without any musical instruments (and, of course, nary a record left by them today which is very sad), 'cept for the rabab/rababa, mihbash or the wooden coffee grind-stick, and the small hand-held cymbals, or nagous. The Saudi bedouin poetry sung using the rababa doesn't vary at all from other bedouin nomads in Jordan, the U.A.E., or Kuwait. The bedouin styles in Saudi Arabia are various but the most famous of these is the al-hadah (الحدا/الحدة) music of camel-driving which has a very slow rhythm to it, alongside the majrour - مجرور which we've discussed in length at Abdo Moussa's post here and a newer rababa-playing method called sheilah, or sheil (شيلة: literally, 'carrying') that has influences of the oud in it. The jarr (جـر: draws of the bow of rababa-playing style) is often accompanied by many sung, poetic meters like H'jini - هجيني, S'khari - صخري, Mashoub - مسحوب, and the most famous Sameri music which is also known in Saudi Arabia as al-rikbani, or "songs that are sung sitting on one's knees".
A group of bedouins, 1950's.
Jalsa of older men mishragh style.
Other forms of singing are the followings: Houti (حوطي: bedouin singing style), el-merrad (المراد: poetic duels, also bedouin in origin), aghany al-bina (أغاني البنا: builder's songs), sawani music (سواني: sung on the Mashoub style when watering camels at the sawani or water wheels), hars or habsha songs (الهرس/الهبشة: wheat-grindstone songs sung to the rhythm of stone grinding or ar-raha - الرحا), raks music (dance songs for both males and females in the bride's room and in the wedding tent-house by males only sung in Sameri).

A group of wedding drummers, 60's.
Dances vary from one part to another, and they are: Al-Ahl, Al-Malid, Al-A'ayalah, Al-Mizmar, Al-Dan, Tagseirah, Houlu, Jarr Al-Makhouwah, Al-Wannah, Al-Zareef, Al-Tarijh, Al-Taghroudah, Al-Sameri, Harbieyah, Sahbah, Rabkha (or, Darjjah), Al-Rabkha Al-Tuhamiyah, Al-Nahmah, Al-Khatifah, Al-Khutwah, Al-Dammah, Al-A'ardah, Al-A'ardah Al-Janoubiyah, Al-Manaheel, and Al-Semayah singing and line-dancing style that is usually sung at a new-born baby's party.

Saudi sailors in the 40's.
On the contrary, and far deeper into the Arabian and the Red seas (Note: Saudi Arabia has a 560-kilometer long eastern shore on the Arabian Gulf, and almost 2000 kilometers on its western shores abutting the Red Sea), pearl-divers and fishermen used various musical instruments on board of their ships as their journeys to reach the best pearl-diving spots took them sometimes months, and thus were the most musically-rich ethnographic group in Saudi Arabian culture. Sea music is so rich and can be considered the most archived genre of all Arabian Gulf music (especially in Bahrain and the U.A.E.). The sailors also danced on their ships as well as on mainland. One of those dances that we've mentioned is al-tambourah or al-nouban (الطمبورة/الطنبورة - النوبان) which was used in the past as a healing method because of its strong African origins. The dancers shake their hips which has a belt attached to them full of jiljal or tiny sea-shells (the belt's called al-manjour) to the beat of African drums like al-kasir and al-rahmani to excoriate evil spirits.
A dhaow pearl-diving boat.
Sea shanties are the best, most-powerful music in the entire world. The Arabian Gulf (and, Saudi Arabia) has a variety of sea shanties that don't differ much whether they're sung on the eastern shore or the western one. The first of these songs sailors sing on board of their ships is the al-bricha (البريخة) which is an encouraging ballad sung in unison as the moor is being lift ready to go to the sea. Other on-ship singing styles are the al-dawri (الداوري: sung by some of the sailors known for its powerful alt-tenor long-winded voicings), al-khatfah (الخطفة: sail-hoisting songs), Ya Mal (hollering songs known across the Arabian Gulf that start with the line 'Ya Mal', or O'Winding Road), jarr al-mijadeef (جر المجاديف: ship oar-rowing routine song) all of which are sung accompanied by simple brass hand-instruments like the hawn (copper-made mortar), and yehla (small cymbals).

Boat rowing. Early picture.
Other shanties are called fjieri (فجيري), or dawn songs sung as ships leave at the break of dawn based on two main poetic scales called zhairi, and mweili (the first has many variations including khumasi - quintet, sudasi - sextet, and the septuple or suba'ai meters). Their on-ship songs are called nahbah - نحبة and nahmah - نهمة, and they're like elongated weeps that has this bluesy distinctive sound that I like so much (it's my most favourite music style, by the way). Other sea songs are al-jandah - الجندة which is a variation on the nahbah that comes in shorter words sung as greetings for all sailors in respectful hums called hamhamat (همهمات), and the houli (هولي) which is believed to have been called so after a Djin or afreet's name that fornicated with a woman in antediluvian days. (Note: most Saudis and Arabian Gulf inhabitants have roots in what became the Houli tribe, which is where all bedouins come from, basically. Bedouins pride their selves at being froukh al-jin: فروخ الجن - Djins' offspring).

Panorama of pearl diving, c. 40-60's.

Hassan Jawa.
The early singers as we've discussed earlier on, had strong roots in Javanese and Yemeni music. One of the earliest Saudi popular singers was Hassan Jawa (حسن جاوة, real name: Hassan ba Junied) who was nicknamed 'Mecca's Throat' (حنجرة مكة) because he used to shout the athan from Islam's qiblah or the prayers' direction. Java, or Jawa in Arabic in addition to Yemen were the original sources for all 20th-century Saudi and Jazeerah music thanks to this scared geography that Mecca was given at the early starts of the Islamic faith. It's these Indonesian traders who were influenced by Yemeni Muslim ones hundreds of years ago when they went to Java to trade their spices and Matari coffee (it's where the borrowed English word java came from, by the way as it used to be javah, or kahwa in Arabic which became 'coffee'), for Indonesian wood to build their ships and exotic fruit. By the time those Indonesians turned Muslim, they went to Mecca to be closer to the birthplace of Islam. It's such a remarkable transcontinental musical exchange unseen elsewhere around the world so much that modern Indonesian is thought to contain as many as 3,000 Arabic words.
Abderrahmane Muzzein.
Beside Hassan Jawa whom we've mentioned, other singers who saw some popularity around the first half of the last century were Fahd Abu-Hmied, Othman Khamees, Mohammed Ali Sindi, Seraj Abd Al-Ghani, Mohammed Al-Rayess, Mohammed Saleh A'arafah, Al-Cherif Mohammed bin Chahin, Said Al-Zaqzouq, violinist Mahmoud Helwani, Abderrahmane Muzzein 'Al-Applteen', Abdelrrahmane Makki, Mutlagh Mekhlid Al-Thiyabi (a.k.a. 'Sameer Al-Wadi'), Mohammed Al-Asmar, Al-Hourani, Al-Halanqi, Al-Waznah, Al-Shawli, Bakr Jouji, Ibrahim Al-Saman, Ibrahim Turkistani, Hassan Daghistani, Talal Salamah, Mohammed Aman, Mohammed ba Joudah, Said ba Khasahabah, Omar ba A'ashin, Hassan Lubna, Mansour Baghdadi, Omar Bukhari, Seraj Atiq, Abdallah ba Ya'ashout, Abdel-Aziz & Abdallah Charaf, Al-Cherif Hachim, and Hussein Hachim.

Mohammed Ali Sindi.
Saudi singers
early 30's-40's.
Similarly, each city and town around the kingdom started to take its own musical personality, and by the late 40's and 50's and throughout the early 60's Saudi Arabian popular music saw a huge influx of many artists performing in its major cities at parties, wedding halfas and some even were shown on television when it began airing in 1965 like our very own Mohammed Abdou. Among those were Abu-Hussah, Ahmad Bin Redhan, Haidar Fikri, Mussafar Al-Khethami, Jaffar Murchidi, Ismael Al-Turki, Mabrouk Al-Ghrini, Mahmoud Khan, Mahmoud A'achi, Suleiman & Abed-Allah Saharah, Ahmad ba Kalka, As'ad Harbi, Bachir Hamad Chanan, Issa Al-Ihsaei, Abed-Allah Al-Serihk (a.k.a. A'andalieeb Najd), Ghazi Ali, Fawzi Mahsoun, Lutfi Zeini, Hassan Dardier, Sammy Ihasn, and Fahd Al-Said Al-Dowsari.

Fawzi Mahsoun.
From Mecca came Abbas A'ashi, Omar Arba'aien, Said Shawli, Hamza Mughrabi, Ahmad Chiekhou, and from Al-Madinah Mohammed Banani, Hussein Hachim, Hussein Bukhari, Ali Awwiedah, Omar Abdel-Salam, Abdel-Sattar Ghazi, Abdel-Razzaq Najdi, and Mahmoud Nou'amani. As for Jeddah which was like the hub for all of these singers the best were Abbas Al-Maddah, Al-Said Al-Barr, Omar ba A'achan, Mohammed Amin 'Seraj', Abu-Hassan Tubeilah, Said Zaqzouq, Othman Khamees, Arafah Saleh, Ahmad Baghdadi, Bakr Baghdadi, Najieb Joughadar, Ridha Amin, Salem Ahmad Abdel-Fattah, Suleiman M'twalli, Attiah Al-Deghini, Ba Yousef, Asa'ad Kattan, Abderrahmane ba Ghaffar, Abdallah ba Ghasha, Al-Bichi ba Mahdi, Al-Sayed ba Obied Hachim, Omar Al-Thahiri, Al-Sayed Al-Hamdi, Obied M'seghier, Naji, Salem Khamees, Mohammed Ali Sindi, Mahmoud Helwani, Fawzi Mahsoun, Mutlagh Al-Theyabbi, and last but not least Mohammed Abdou's mentor and singing partner Omar Kardas (who along with Abdallah Al-Murshidi and singer and oud-player Yousef Mohammed formed the first ever Saudi popular 'choral' band, or ferqah in the late 50's).

Yousef Mohammed, with Omar Kardas
and Abdallah Al-Murshidi (above).
Meccan singer Hassan Al-Labni.
At the old Al-Harram Al-Makki itself (now considered the biggest human construction in the history of mankind), old Yemeni singers called 'muttawwifin' (مطوفين/مطوف - singular muttawwif, or rover/roamer) used to walk around where many of the pilgrims went to buy souvenirs before they left back to their own countries or towns, and with a small abrupt chorus of singing children, sang some madayeh or adulatory poems for the Prophet Mohammed through which they veered into more tatreeb songs (تتطريب) and poetry in order to make the audience pay for their efforts. Tarab as a classically-performed music genre was otherwise respectfully played at a special place called al-maqa'ad, or 'The Seat' (now it's called simply a divan/diwan), where the lead singer like say Hassan Jawa used to sit in the middle of a jalsah (setting), and utterly bring people into an ecstatic state of heavenly superiority that normally ended with the tranced audience literally touching the earth as the music ebbed and flowed (Note: Tarab itself as a word came from turab - تراب, or sand in Arabic. We shall discuss this genre in detail along with an introduction to Gnawa music in our next post 'ere at the Audiotopia).
A majlis diwan, circa late 1960's.
A tarab Jalsa in the early 60's.
The listeners were all seated as we said next to the singer or mutrib and within the first few lines, everyone would feel a gravitational force that would bring them closer to the earth, or the sand which Arab people usually sit near to. This oneness state of earth and the human element of sand known in theosophical terms as a base natural element which the human skin is said to be made from, brings in the highest transcendence any music could bring: the fusion of inanimate and animate states makes us one with the universe. Ecstatic states like tarab and gnawa are not fully studied like similar sufist trances, and the literature written on it is mediocre (see Prof. of Ethnomusicology at the U.C.L.A. Ali Jihad Racy's book on the Tarab subject. It carries a detailed historical background on this amazing music genre).

Saudi singress, Touha.
Touha in Cairo, late 50's
(without her head cover).
Well, even women saw a seat at these jalsat or settings in addition to participating at the folkloric dances wearing their thobs or long, embroidered, colourful robes called in Saudi al-nasha'al/ darrah zeri and wearing face-covers or veils as not to show their true identity (Note: music in Saudi Arabia and the neighbouring countries had always had this 'shame' culture attached to it where a woman could be killed if a family was ousted as one of hers! The early female singers who were famous sang with aliases, pseudo-names, mono-names, or sometimes were simply called by their self-chosen first names along with the place where they came from instead of their real names or just the place alone).

The first among a handful of those female singers were sisters Fatmah and Aisha Zaydiyiah who were both singers and players at the same time of the oud and the violin.

Saudi singer Ibtisam Lutfi.
Later, and in the late 50's and 60's female Saudi popular singers like Fathiya 'Touha' Hassan Yahia, Ibtisam Lutfi (real-name: Khairyiah Kerban, believed to be blind. She played the oud so well and taught it to many popular male Saudi singers. These two singres will have one exclusive post full of their great music soon), Shough Al-Jiddahwiyiah, Qamar Al-Taheriyiah, Zeineb Al-Hindyah, Hajiyah Al-Makkawayiah, Atifah and Mariam Al-Taifyiah, Al-Mirea'aniyah Abdallah, Saliha Madani (a.k.a. Saliha Al-Baltajyiah, daughter of singer and oud-player Hassan Madani), Fawzieyah Tanakah, Fawzieyah Kakola, Kaka Janna, Karamah, Latifah Al-Maghribyiah, Al-Adaniyah, Samar Dina and a few other female singers who saw some minor fame among the predominately-male singing scene 40 years ago.
A julwah (women were defaced).
Saudi wedding singers in the 80's.
Most women weren't allowed to sing anywhere outside their homes and singing and/or playing music was prohibited at all places save only for when it came time to announce a newly-wedded couple at weddings in the privacy of a julwah - جلوة, or a bride's sanctuary. This was a place were the bride is kept inside a small construction called 'sitar' (ستار: curtain) and her folks would ask her to stay still until her man would come to take her (lazmah - لزمة: obligatory stay). Some women were taken from their parents' homes straight to their new ones where a husband would be awaiting, fully dressed as a warrior as fellow men would fire shotguns and dance with their weapons as they swung them in the air in joyous celebration.
A wedding celebration and dance. c. 1940's.
During the time the men would dance and sing, the women would get busy preparing the bride's henna (shat al-henna: شات الحنة), and dressing her in gold (ghamrah: غمرة) and various ornaments (rashrash: رشرش). This dressing ritual is intermixed with songs and prayers of good-wishing and some evil-eye thwarting incantatory hymns, and ends with placing the topmost and heaviest jewellery piece carefully at the bride's head called al-hammah (الهامة) sometimes weighing in around 250 grams of solid gold as the leading singing woman would sing high-pitched ahazeegh (أهازيج: joy shouts) and make zaghareet (زغاريت: ululations) at the top of her throat when the moment came to take the bride to her final home.
A bride with her husband, 1929.
Female singer (R) making zaghareet.
The other participating women would be the tagagas (طقاقات, or beaters) and those played their hand-drum and cymbals at weddings singing a'ashouri (wedding shiite songs) and majlis songs (the style was called m'jelsi). Dances are very scarce but almost all of the Saudi women who participate in folkloric dances would dance slowly the most common type which is called the haliye which has a seigniorial staid rhythm of shaking the hairs (usually oiled and combed all the way to the dancer's hips) to the sides in tandem to the music played by a band of tagagaat and a singing, story-teller woman who's called wannasah or the 'amuser' whose job is to keep everybody amused until the bride leaves her house.

A couple of tagagas lead a bride.
The Islamic rule against using any musical instrument was misinterpreted and of course, misused by many Saudi Muslims and Arabs, too. There is a large stigma stamped directly on any of these women who share the joy of weddings (which is very Islamic, by the way as it is necessary to enjoy and celebrate, and even announce with a racket the wedded couples so that everyone would know that they're married). Nowadays, these women are nothing but farce-fodder and are made the butt of all jokes, so much that this word 'tagagah' is now used as a putdown and a curseword by most Saudis even to men. A newer 'tagh Islami' is now mandatory where these women beat their drums without any accompanying other instruments/songs.

Khubiti dance.
The mainstay musical instruments that took these singers and their devout listeners to otherwordly levels in the meantime (and away from the strict Islamaniacs) were the oud, qambus, tar (double-sided skin-drum women usually play), in addition to a hand-drum called zir, and the daff, or tambourine. Other music instruments were mostly pan-Arabic like the qanoun, various wind instruments like the mizmar, or reed flute, the surnai, the gherbah or bagpipes played mainly by men, and a multitude of other drums.
A'ardah dance.
The Lady: Umm-Kalthoum.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Saudi music saw a sea-change in the direction of how popular music was listened to and the instruments involved. There were radio broadcasts the populace listened to which came mostly from The Voice of Cairo (Sawt Al-Qahira) in the early 40's. Singers started to get their influences from near-eastern countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria more than far-eastern ones like Indonesia and India and the early Yemeni singers. It's such a strange turn of the fates for Saudi music: at one point in time it was almost wholly Yemenite, and then in the 40's and 50's the music became very Egyptian introducing instruments like the violin or kamanjah, and the accordion.
The Stars Band with singers
Abdou M'zied and Mohammed Shafeq.
The Silver Band in 1963:
this was the first T.V. band.
Above: Tareq Abdel-Hakim. Below:
opening the first music museum.
Prince Mansour
Ibn Abdel-Aziz.
One of Saudi Arabia's best singers and composers was sent to Cairo to study music there. His name was Tareq Abdel-Hakim. He was a Brigadier in the Saudi Army in the early 40's and was formally called the "Uzbatchi" ('General' in Ottoman Army parlance which influenced Saudi Arabia and other ex-Ottoman Empire protectorates like Egypt, Syria, and Jordan where these military titles are still used to a certain extent). When Tareq reached Cairo, the newspapers mocked this military man who was assigned a chair at their much-revered musical military school in 1952. After  graduating with honours from Cairo in 1953 proving them wrong, he went on to collect music and traditional folk tunes. Under the auspice of Prince Mansour Ibn Abdel-Aziz who was the crown prince at that time, he opened the first ever museum for traditional music in the Kingdom.

Tareq Abdel-Hakim dancing. 70's.
His musical talents made him such a popular figure not just in Saudi Arabia but in nearby Arab countries. He was the first Saudi singer to perform in Beirut, Lebanon in the early 50's (I shall write him a very special post full of his wonderful music here at the Audiotopia, soon), plus he was credited to writing the music for the Royal Anthem of Saudi Arabia. Tareq Abdel-Hakim has influenced almost every young aspiring artist and singer, including Talal Maddah, Abed Al-Majid Abed-Allah and of course our very special singer... Mohammed Abdou.

Tareq Abdel-Hakim with the younger generation of Saudi musicians.
I guess this pretty much does it fer an intro. Hope it's informing and helpful because many still think of Saudi Arabia as a musically-poor place, when — after reading all of these singers' names and numerous styles one can realise how diverse and rich this Arab kingdom is. It's not just rich with oil and gas, but also with music and culture that are dying slowly. Saudi Arabia has one of (if not the...) largest reservoirs of oil in the entire world, true but the worst ruling system. You can read if you wish the last, third part of this post below the story of this desert kingdom and how it was explored and then 'exploited' by western colonialist powers.

But before you do that, please allow me to lead you on now to tonight's singer, and the richest Arab singer ever, the Arabs' Singer himself... Mohammed Abdou.

Mohammed Abdou (spelled also as, Mohamed Abdo/M7md 3bdo) - مـحـمد عـبده/عـبدو:

Mohammed Abdou - مـــحــمد عــبـدو.

Mohammed Abdou Othman Marzouq Al-Dahal Al-A'aseri (his fullest name), Abu-Abdou, or Abu-Nourah (Nourah is his eldest daughter), was born in a small fishing village called Al-Darb in the south-western province of Jizan in 1948. No-one knows the exact date of Mohammed Abdou's birth but some sources place it at the next year 1949, June the 12th. At that time and in Saudi Arabia too little people knew how to read or write let alone be given any birth certificates whatsoever. The only schools available were small government-run ones that had teachers called on-loan, to teach Saudi kids from nearby Arab countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

Mohammed Abdou (far right)
at school, circa 1954.
Illiteracy levels were very high because simply said, people were busy living their rustic lives; happily fishing in their small boats, collecting dates from palm trees and their land was a place full of joy and life unlike these so-called modernity times where almost 80% of the populace are either idle (no need to work as long as there are a buttilionth Bengali, Indian and Pakistani worker who could do that job for ya), or overly obese just like Americans are who came to Saudi Arabia in the early 30's just a few years before WW-II (good timing, indeed), and established there one of the largest oil-producing companies in the world (ARAMCO: Arab American Co. produces at least one tenth of all world petroleum production) in a very conservative, ex-British Empire colony (Note: Saudis deny their being colonized by the British Crown, but turdling Britons aside, they are known now as the most Americanized people in the Middle-east, and Saudi Arabia itself is officially considered America's biggest market for its merchandise and fast-food empire regardless of these falsely-pious religiots).
One of his earliest pictures.
Sad sob stories continue when Mohammed Abdou was born, his father Abdou Othman Al-A'asiri was just a poor fisherman in that Tuhama, A'asir village who had six children with his wife Salma Nasr-Allah. Smallpox was epidemic at that time, and almost all of their children died including a three-year old 'Mohammed' whose mother vowed to name her next child like him because she loved him so much. After that sad incident, the family decided to move to Jeddah (nicknamed by villagers at that time the 'Ghoul' because it was so big in comparison to their small villages) where the 'other' Mohammed was born. His father left his job as a fisherman and took a new one as a bricklayer. But, soon the father left them in 1953 after he fell prey himself to smallpox, dying before Mohammed walked.
Mohammed (L) with his uncle and brothers, 50's.
With some of his institute's friends.
As a orphan aged only 3, Mohammed went with his widowed mother and her other two siblings who were saved from that plight to an orphanage house called Ribat Abu-Zinadah; a Yemenite hostel for orphaned families and soon crown prince Faisal accepted her children into one of the orphan-schools he himself paid for. Mohammed Abdou went to that orphan school at Harat Al-Yemen in Jeddah where he said once that in that school he, "...learned how to live and depend on myself." It wasn't an easy life, still it's far better than what theirs would have been if they were left alone. After his graduation from sixth-grade, he started taking many menial jobs: selling candy and mixed-nuts in the market, joining once as a temployer the general post-office working there as a collector, and so on until he joined a vocational institute to make a living for himself and his family moving with them to a new house with whatever little money he's been given as a graduation prize by the time he's finished.
Early picture, late 50's.
Sitting at with Abdou Mzied
and violinist Al-Rajih, early 60's.
One of the new neighbours at their new surroundings was a singer who happened to memorize some of the old 'danat' songs by chance, and Mohammed went to his house almost every night to hear him sing these old songs and soon kept a log-book of these in his heart and mind which later guided him as his personal musical compass in his exceptional career. At one of the sama'aie parties (سماعي: listening settings for classical music), he sang one of those songs to the joy and admiration of those singers who knew that this kid had something special inside him especially singer Omar Kadras (عمر كدرس) who took the young kid to Jeddah's radio recording studios to pin down three songs that were his very first, issued on the Ash-Shark label which was the first ever Saudi music company, around 1962-1961.
Singing with a full band at a hafla in the early 60's.
Singing and playing his oud, 60's.
But, singing and playing music was considered anti-Islamic (and yes, still is in modern Saudi Arabia till this day). The house owner asked them to leave, ultimately and so they have complied. His studies at the vocational institute were starting and he decided to study his father's job joining as a ship-builder there. He built a whole ship himself he called "Markeb Al-Hindi" and wanted to be its captain as one of his most popular songs he wrote later spoke about this dream of his life. Mohammed always had this dream where he was there in the middle of the sea alone with his lover. That song became his most favourite (and, also my favourite among his 400 or so that he sang between 1961-1990).

With his lifetime friend Mohammed Shafiq.

At a hafla in Beirut, mid-60's.
During the time he was at the institute, he won an academic scholarship to continue his studies in Rome, Italy. A Saudi radio presenter who heard the young Abdou sing at Masrah Al-Itha'a choral band (مسرح الإذاعة: Radio's Theatre) named Abbas Fa'aeq Ghazawi saw him and asked him to join his programme for talents named 'Baba Abbas'. When he heard of the intended trip to Italy, he feared he'd lose Abdou for good, so he sent for him during his ship's journey to that European city, trying to convince him not to stay there, and offered him a trip to Beirut, Lebanon complete with a whole band. The year now is 1964, and the technical institute days were over and so were Jeddah's radio choral ones. He started earlier to sing at Hassan Rajab's salon which was brought to existence by the efforts of Saudi singer Omar Kadras. Beirut was where he recorded a few of his earliest songs and sang some live parties (haflat) to a small enthusiastic audience. His career began taking a more professional shape ever since. Among those singers and composers who helped him shape his career were Kadras, Abbas (he called him Baba Abbas which means 'Father' just like he's known in his famous radio programme), Taher Al-Zamachsheri (who wrote most of his popular songs and went to Beirut with him along with Omar Kadras), the 'Songs Vessel' poet Mohammed Abdallah, and poet Ibrahim Al-Khafaji, Seraj Omar, Sammy Ihsan, Mohammed Shafiq, and Saudi-Syrian composer Mohammed Muhsen.
At Kuwaiti T.V. 1966 (L), and Saudi T.V. (R) in 1965.
His popularity took him to television in 1965 and he appeared there wearing a hatta (small head cover) singing one of Tareq Abdel-Hakim's songs ('Sekkat Al-Ashegeen', or Lover's Lane). Kuwait was his next stop where in 1966 he sang live on Kuwaiti national T.V. his song which took him outside to other Arabian Gulf countries. That song was 'Mako Fakkah' (No Change) and soon his name became very popular in all of the Arabian Gulf countries that watched with astonishment this young singer singing with all of his might that beautiful, upbeat popular song. It was a huge hit. Other Saudi singers took notice of Mohammed Abdou's rising stardom and tried to stop him in his mid-tracks.
Singer and composer Omar Kadras.
Talal Maddah.
Another popular Saudi singer Talal Maddah (طلال مداح) went also at that time to Beirut and soon after Abdou's success, he recorded with Omar Kadras one of the songs that Mohammed Abdou himself was supposed to sing, but Kadras refused to give it to him because of Talal Maddah's established fan base at that time thinking that he'd get a hit by giving it to Maddah instead. This instigated a years-long rivalry between these two singing poles of Saudi popular music. Talal was maybe older and more famous than Abdou was, but Abdou's voice was more mellow and made a bigger fan base than Talal's. Also, most of Mohammed Abdou's songs were livelier and had a fresh, 'modern' tune to them better than Maddah's were (Talal Maddah sang mostly in very old majrour and danat styles).

 In Cairo, with Said Ba Matahar (L), and singing, late 60's.

His fame took him throughout the late 60's and he was the best singer in and outside of Saudi Arabia to call whenever a wealthy prince wanted to have a hafla or wanted to listen to some old oud songs in a tarab jalsah. With his fame and a small fortune he amassed from his live parties and record sales (one of his earliest discs sold out immediately after its release in 1967 an unbelievable-at-that-time 30,000 copies in less than a week!), but after a series of concerts in Kuwait, Qatar, and The United Arab Emirates he decided to go to Cairo to sing there and accomplish a good classical music base for himself.
Behind the pyramids and the Sphinx, 1969.
He joined forces with Michel Al-Masri band's players collected from The Arabic Institute for Music (The Conservatoire) and the other students who studied there, singing with them as he was still studying at the institute. Then, and after his successful haflat in Cairo in 1969, he joined Ahmad Fouad Hassan's Diamante Band (Al-Ferqa Al-Masyiah) considered at that time the best orchestral band in the whole of Cairo which played for Abdel-Halim Hafez. This fame was fueled by wealthy Saudi princes' support like Prince Badr Bin Abdel-Muhsin who wrote for Abdou many of his most famous songs, Mohammed Al-Abedallah Al-Faisal, Khaled Al-Faisal (who wrote for him from 1965 until 1995 various songs among which is one of my Abu-Nourah's favourites, namely; Al-Moa'anat, or 'The Suffering'), Prince Khaled Bin Yazeed, Prince Abderrahmane Bin Messa'ad, Prince Saud Bin Abdellah, and some princes from Kuwait and the U.A.E. most notably, Prince Mohammed Bin Rachid Al-Maktoum of the Dubai Emirate.
At a rehearsal for one of 70's concerts.
1973 was pivotal in his career because most of his songs started to get issued on compact cassettes instead of vinyl records. He also took another tangent and started to sing concerts for some Saudi and Arab expats who enjoyed his songs and beautiful pop arrangements in countries like Greece, Turkey, and Iran. Some of these countries' singers took his songs and remade them with new words sung in their own languages. It's a sure sign on how his songs were becoming worldly and very popular. Not just that, but in 1977 he left for a European tour to become the first Saudi Arabian singer to ever perform in Europe singing on his way in Geneva, Paris, and London.

Abdou in the late 70's.
In June, 1976 Mohammed Abdou was invited to sing at his second-home Yemen during the National Day of Independence celebrations in Sana'a the capital. There, a Yemeni composer wrote for him one song which he sang accompanied by a modern band that included an electric guitar and organ (Yemen was very conservative at that time, musically-speaking), and this song co-composed with Mohammed Murchid Naji and written by poet Mahdi Hamdoun 'Dhanani Al-Shough' (Love's Pained Me) became a huge success. In the same year, he married his childhood love interest and neighbour Najwa and began his family life which took him partly away from singing and the pop world. In his 40-year plus career, he made many albums, and established his own record label (Sawt Al-Jazeerah - 'Voice of Al-Jazeerah') issuing one cassette album of his songs after another. These cassette-albums became records of his musical genius and the admiration of many a record collector. Most of these are to be uploaded here in the links below, so please enjoy these and more.
The singer, and also at the same time the businessman.
Mohammed with his mother.
In 1989, his mother died and Mohammed stopped singing altogether. It was one of the saddest moments in his entire life as he put it in more than one interview. She was the real love of his life and the one for whom Abdou sang and wanted to be a star after all the hard years that she had to go through when he was at the orphan school (He wasn't allowed to see her in her house when he was still studying at the vocational school). Mohammed Abdou was so saddened by her death that he decided not to issue any more albums from 1989 until 1997. In 1990, the First 'Desert Storm' Gulf War erupted and the atmosphere pushed to the fore these less-artistic national songs which Gulf states were airing and playing over and over when Saddam Hussein tried to invade Kuwait (part of the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council, or Majlis Al-Ta'awoun Al-Khaleeji - مجلس التعاون الخليجي العربي).

The Gulf War: America's game. 1991.
A burning oil-field.
That war was disastrous on almost all Arabian Gulf singers who stopped singing their popular-themed songs and left these for what's known as Wataniyat (Nationalistic song), issuing their albums wearing their military fatigues instead of their traditional garbing. Even Mohammed Abdou himself made a couple of album-cassettes which had a drawing of some F-16 Jetfighters on the cover with him wearing that famous Desert-Storm khaki-coloured camo. But, at least it was a good rest from his rivalry with Talal Maddah: they weren't rivals anymore and they both joined hands and throats in a couple of musical operettes (Mawlid Ummah: The Birth of A Nation - 1989, Waghfet Hagh: A Truth Stand - 1991) sung about Saudi Arabia as the whole Saudi Kingdom was fearful of the consequences of that atrocious war which changed the political map of the whole Middle-eastern region. 
Mohammed and Talal Maddah.
At a Geneva concert, 1989.
After eight years, and in September, 1997 he sang in a National Day celebration for Saudi audiences who were amazed at how his voice became more mature. His voice was marvelous and more tact. But, the arrangements were full of lush (strings, endless violin strings...), and the ever-hateful keyboard became the first and most audible musical 'non'-instrument in the orchestra that grew so much from a dozen or so players to a stupefying 80-plus players! It wasn't bad, though. That year, he went to London to sing at three concerts (all are available for download), and he issued the three albums plus two other ones all at the same time which was unbelievable to say the least! Not one pop singer in the world did that. The rest of his rivals were busy with their rivalries but as for Mohammed Abdou's fans, they were busy trying to decide which album to choose as 'best' among these five ones.
Abdou singing live: his best ever. 90's.
With Warda Al-Ghazaieryah.
The next year saw his official comeback when he sang at the Abha Music Festival in 1998 issuing another mind-blowing three albums concurrently. Followup concerts in Qatar, Dubai, and Cairo were the much-needed nails to fortify this vessel that would sail him along the competitive singing seas in the late 90's for which Mohammed Abdou was the known salty sailor, indeed. Other Arab pop singers had to join him only as there was literally no competition when it came to rivaling Abou Nourah. Late Egyptian-Algerian singer Warda (whom the Audiotopia had her an extensive post here), sang with him in a summer concert in Cairo, but she wanted him to sing first because she had a prestigious call to end the concert with her voice, only... for the audience to leave after Mohammed Abdou's number which caused her never to sign another contract with the concert manager Jalal Moua'wad again, leaving ultimately to Paris.

Singing with Nawal Al-Kuwaityah.
Other concerts around 1998-2000 followed as there were more few operettes and some musicals with fellow Saudi singers Talal Maddah, Abdel-Majid Abedallah, Abbadi Al-Jouhar, and Kuwaiti female singer Nawal. He also sang a musical for The U.A.E.'s president Shiek Zaid Bin Sultan Al-Nihayan with Egyptian singer Angham, and Bahraini-Emirati singer Ahlam in addition to spectacular Saudi singer Rachid Al-Majid whom we're going to have a special post for soon insh'Allah. Rachid joined Abdou again with the 'usual suspects' of Saudi popular music Talal Maddah and Abdel-Majid Abedallah in another operette for a Saudi prince's wedding called 'A'arayes Al-Mamlakah' (The Kingdom's Weddings). In this post, I won't offer any of these operettes' albums or those nationalist ones, because I honestly think that they are musically inferior to his solo ones. Excuse me on that one.
The Arabs' Singer.

His Musical Genius:
Mohammed Abdou.
Abdou's music was based on the older generation's ageless talents and songs of maybe a thousand years of heritage, but nevertheless, he was credited to at least preserving these songs called mawrouth (the inherited songs) without much change in their buildup or musical arrangements. His Chaabyat albums that he released through his label Voice of Al-Jazeerah in the 90's were his attempt at documenting that old tradition. These jalsat (settings) where were his talent has got best crystallized: his oud was this instrument for which he talked to almost spiritually, in a manner never seen elsewhere in any Arab singer save for maybe Farid Al-Atrache and the genius Baligh Hamdy whom he wanted to sing one of his songs, but alas, that never took place because Talal Maddah raced him to Baligh. Still, Abdou sang one of Baligh's compositions 'Sert Al-Houb' (Love Story) for Umm-Kalthoum as a token of his admiration for Baligh's artistry.
At his early days.
His earliest songs that he used to sing were religious chants and anasheed (Islamic songs that are okay to sing without any instrumental accompaniment save for maybe a small tambourine), muwashahat, and reciting the Quran after prayer time, or in his school's celebrations. Students and teachers alike used to gather around him to hear him warble with these marvels at recess breaks, or whenever they were allowed. Fearing that he might quit school to follow a career as a singer, his mother asked him to sing only on invitation when the older singers were around, so that her son would stay a pupil to these established singers. His voice and oud playing overcame this fear when jaws dropped after he gave say, a rendition of some old Yemeni adwar (old songs of known maqamat) known for their almost impossibility for a young singer to master. These songs were like old best kept secrets that Yemeni singers sang and competed with each other to take to higher levels. That's where the name 'adawr' came from which means 'levels', or floors literally.
On Saudi T.V. circa 1970's.
For four years and when he was just nine years old, Mohammed Abdou stayed as just this 'back-singer'... singing for the joy or on invitation by some of the older singers. He refused to write any music for himself because he thought of his voice as a tool pretty much like those tools he used at his vocational institute to build ships with. In 1961, this 'solopsism' changed when he was 14: he wrote his first song sans any musical instruments ('Khalas Da'at Amanina' - It's All Over, We Lost Our Wishes). T.V. stardom came a-knocking in the mid-60's and between 1965-1967 he sang songs on Jeddah's theatre television and then went to the capital Riyadh to sing there in its larger T.V. studios. This gave him the 'poportunity' to be audible as well as 'visible' to the Arabian Gulf states' audience and in no time... he was nicknamed as The Jazeerah Singer (Fannan Al-Jazeerah Al-Arabiyah - فـنان الجـزيرة العـربيـة).

Abdou in the 70's.
The songs that he sang to that mass audience (considered as the wealthiest among all Arab ones), were bedouin poetry songs called Nabatean songs. Nabati poetry as it's called in Arabic is a pre-Islamic style of bedouin poetry and singing that bedouins in the northern parts of Saudi Arabia and southern Jordan still sing. Also, a multitude of poets from other Khaleeji states like the U.A.E. and Kuwait sing in this 2000-year old style until this very day, with a fierce competition among them. It's one of the oldest living styles of singing that needs a considerable amount of talent and musical ability to master. As for the more popish sounds of Mohammed Abdou, the song Aba'ad gave him a world-wide popularity at the time when it was released in the mid-70s. It was considered a huge success for a singer who came from a musically-challenged country like Saudi Arabia. That song was covered by other singers from Lebanon (The Bendali family sang it), Greece, and Iran.
At a concert in Jeddah, 1978.
His songs were short at the first years of his early career and before he gained popularity, but not after his days in Cairo when he joined larger orchestras (Al-Ferqa Al-Masiyah, Ferqat Al-Nil,... etc) where each of his songs had to have a lengthy intro full of instrumentation and a lot of of his fans welcomed this change regardless of his critics (one of those was none other than Talal Maddah himself). The only downside of those Cairo days was the fact that his orchestrational work became less and less Saudi/Nabatean/Hijazi/Yemeni... and more and more Egyptian. He stopped being the back-singer, true... only to get himself a collection of Egyptian back-singers (most were females) which gave his songs a 'tunecture' of un-Saudiness to them. The other Khaleeji singers used the same method, like Abed Al-Rab Idrees (who worked and composed for Abdou in the late 80's), and Yemeni singer Abu-Bakr Salim (the three worked together in 2006 in an Arabic formal-language song called 'Atat Hind' - Hind Came).

The singer at his 80's phase.
At his studio, mid-80's.
In 1977, Mohammed Abdou established his own studio at Al-Nazlah district in Jeddah issuing all of his live concert albums at first (amount to 43 cassettes), and also some of the Chaabyat (popular folkloric songs, 23 albums in total), both of which witnessed such huge sales and popularity among his fans and avid collectors at the same time. Most of his earlier cassettes were issued on the Romco label in Kuwait during the early 70's. His solo Oud works have so many cassette albums, too both in Jalsa (Jalsa Oud 4-volumes series) and as a soloist (A'ala Oudi 3-volumes series) and the earliest Romco editions of Jalsah Oud (too many to care to count) all of which you will find downloadable at the links below. His early albums were his best, but most of his later work was just as good.
Directing the final touches on his song albums.
Mohammed Abdou's music in the Zips never changed much from his early 70's one. His style influenced many singers and he is said to be one of the originalists who stayed faithful to their sound throughout his 40-plus years career. To wit, in 1997 when he left with the Masiyah orchestra for his first London concerts led by Walid Fayed, his three albums that were culled from that concert didn't vary at all from his 1977 work which saw him rearranging his older tunes that he'd made during that timespan (not withstanding the change in the musical instruments) in a more composed form. In other words, his musical work was just perfect.

Abdou in the 21st century.
In 2005, he signed a 15-million Saudi Riyal contract with the Saudi-owned satellite mega-company Rotana for music production, but these later works saw more sloppily-made tunes that didn't follow strictly with his earlier musical compass like 'El-Amakin' (The Places), and his album 'Muth'hilah' (You're Incredible) and both I didn't upload for personal 'taste' reasons so that you may excuse me again here. It's just that I don't think it'd be hard for anyone to get these from anywhere be it, on the web, or off of it.
Mohammed Abdou... saying goodbye.

Well, regardless... His overall discography totals around 200 albums and records from his early starts in the 1961, until 2011. Half a century of golden songs made by the golden singer of the Arab world: Mohammed Abdou, or Abu-Nourah as millions of his Arab devout fans call him. Enjoy these 100-plus records and songs that can amount to around 700! The total gigs for the whole files (in case you're nuts enough to DL them all as I might want you to) is over 3GB!

That's nothing, fer reals. In this file you can find an iPod-worthy mix for almost all of his songs weighing a dainty 4GB in case your bauds are up and runnin' and you can DL this huge file. If not so, here are two smaller-sized files with some of his best songs mixed by an anonymous Abdaoui fan that I give to you here as a bonus:

Mohammed Abdou Mix (2-Parts):
-Abdou Mix - Part 1.
-Abdou Mix - Part 2.

Whews! It's gettin' hotter here I can fuckin' tell y'all!

With this note... you are free to download all or any of the following one hundred albums below. I leave it at here fer you to enjoy. And, many thanks to everyone who've helped make this post very extra special. Thanks go to Yazeed for his endowing efforts at his weblog yazeed.net and 'fore I go... I posted some few useful blogs and links on Saudi Arabian music, culture and art and at the very end you can set and read about the history of oil and war in that region which we all know now, thanks to today's  maddening media. Hope you can dig and 'njoy everything 'ere to the ultimate limit.

Allah bal'Khier, everyone!

Humble homage to a humble man.


The Albums:

"Note: Holy 'eck! I felt like hammering you with all of this 'Saudio' thang. Get these 100+ cassettes, cartridges, and CD albums complete with their front covers guys even if ya had to lose yer kidneys DL-in' them. Cool beans? Polar!
Start diggin' now."
Abou-Nourah - أبـو نــورة.



Useful Linx:
-Saudi Culture And Traditions.

-Recordings of S.C. Hurgronje.

Orientalists' Books (Arabic):
-William G. Palegrave's Book.

-George August Wallin's Book.

-Charles Dider's Book.
-Julius Euting's Book.
-Louis Pelly's Book.

-Joseph Mountain's Photographs.

-Music, Life-style & The Arts.
-Old, Rare S. Arabia Pictures.
-The History of Saudi Arabia.

-Must-Buy Cool Mohammed Abdou Tees.
(MyQabila Apparel Official Website).
(Graphic Artist Lebeed Assidmi's Blog)

Typography by khaled4des.

That was something. The next post is not going to have any downloadable files in it: it's a small research-like paper that I shall write soon about the theosophical side of some of the oldest musical genres found and practiced around the Arab world. I shall expound in detail the variations of Gnawa music and its origins (Tim Abdellah, take heed), and tell the story of the oldest form of Arabic music still popular today called Tarab music (which we've explained a little bit here), and how it's all related to ecstatic states, neuro-physiology, the unseen other-worldly entities and the phonosophical aspects of these two genres.

In the meantime, I leave you with this short introduction to the history of oil exploitation and exploration (exploirtaion?) in the Arabian Peninsula. Please, read and savour this new-found knowledge.



Oilarchy And Religiocy:
Black Bloodied Hands And Soiled Hollow Souls. The Cruel Realities of Generations'-Old Lies Told by The Saudi Religiot And The American Greediot Oil-Ticks.
Old engraving of a small Saudi village, 1700's.

The Religiots:
The story begins way back in the late 1700s. At that time, British imperialism was made out of a latent fleet armed with a bunch of drunkard intelligent officers and Orientalists who were mostly Zionist Jews trying to reclaim their old 'Promised Land' somewhere in the Middle-east as old scriptures provided. The British Empire has set its eyes on the whole of the Persian Gulf and the Levant area (where Jerusalem lays in the middle of that area shaped like a crescent) hundred of years before the advent of the 18th century which saw its multitude of colonialist wars that many soldiers who fought in the name of 'christian' faith and the church died for no reason at all. It was all done to satiate the greed of the British Crown that was run and controlled by a handful of Jewish banking families as we all know.

Old 17th-Century Maritime battle.
Britain saw in Africa and India a chance to recruit extra 'heathens' whose death wouldn't rattle a feather on their fluffy asses. With time, and when it came the Arab Gulf countries' turn, the Brits lured most of the rouge tribes' leaders to fight for them or face their canons, and paid in solid gold for some of these (Al-Matareesh tribe, which means literally 'the guerrillas') to invade the neighbouring less-powerful Bani Ka'abb in 1762. The fighting continued backed by Iraqi tribesmen (Al-Sa'adoun tribe) who were the British allies and wanted to take control over larger areas other than the northern Persian Gulf lands that they (the Brits not them) were establishing as their strongholds.
Bedouins engraving from the early 18th-Century.
A Jordanian warrior,
late 19th century.
Before that and between the years 1744-1745, and oddly enough... a less-powerful tribe called Al-Saud (who made later the reigning dynasty of nowadays Saudi Kings) sworn allegiance to the fighting insurgent Al-Sa'adouns. Some sources think that these two tribes were actually one and the same. King Mohammed Bin Saud was said to be the first to try and reign in Saudi Arabia after his troops saw some meager success, but his tiny kingdom was soon toppled down by the Turkish Ottomans who were Britian's only enemy in the region. History has it that the Jewish-British banker's system started to think of a larger-scale solution for these Ottomans who were almost taking control of 30% of the entire world. The solution was the first World War (nicknamed 'The Great War', because there weren't as big wars as this one fought between 1914 and 1918). But, as for now... the story continues a hundred years earlier between the years 1817 and 1824.
A group of bedouins from the Hael region, 1910s.

Mohammed Ali Basha.
Mohammed Ali Basha (The Egyptian Turkish ruler) took full control of these rebel states in 1817 gaining recognition from the Ottoman Empire. The Sauds were ousted back to Bahrain and the southern parts of Iraq and Kuwait and were forced to pay taxes like any other. In 1824, the Turks merged most of Al-Hijaz to Iraq (the Wali of Iraq Daod Basha was responsible for these parts). But, by the end of 1820 a small army led by Mohammed Bin A'afisan under the rule of Imam Turki Bin Abd-Allah invaded a region called Al-Ahsa after recognizing the Egyptians' reign only in 'suzerainty' to the Ottomans. It was a move fully backed by the British as they were waiting for a war to erupt so that they can get another toe-hold inside these parts that they needed to control because of their closeness to Jerusalem. It was this luftmensch Jewish dreamland. As the war started between Turki Bin Abd-Allah's army and some original Arabs who were direct descendants of Khaled Bin Al-Walid (one of Prophet Mohammed's war aides and Sahabi, or a friend).
Arabian tribes posing near a canon, circa 1870s.
After the Al-Ahsa battle which was won by Turki's troops who were backed by British intelligence and artillery, the victorious army went to take over Al-Qatif. In 1843, and with Al-Saud's increasing power, one Faisal Bin Turki Al-Saud was brought back to the Hijaz region from exile in Egypt to be sworn as a ruler in Al-Riyadh (which later became Al-Saud's stronghold and Saudi Arabia's modern-day capital). Years went by with smaller wars that saw the Saud's losing that town for a short while, and then gaining control over it... until Januray, 15th 1902 when Abdel-Aziz Bin Abdelrrahmane Al-Saud took over the capital with the aide of some tribes called 'Al-Aflaj' (rogue, gypsy tribes that most came from Iran and Iraq that were cheapily bought into war), and between 1910-1912 he managed to conjoin another district province called Al-Qaseem to Al-Ahsa making the very first signs of establishing a strong, widespread state for Al-Sauds.
A Hajj caravan, circa 1910.
Sultan Alddiene
Bin Bijad Bin Hamid:
One Ikhwan. 1910s.
To keep a future, tight grip on these parts the British people had to do two things: make sure that there will be enough wars in the region so that people would always need them for help. And, two: create a theocratic state that would give the Al-Saud and few chosen Arab shiek allies much needed authority so that they can always be in the ruling seat which of course means... always be at the beck and call of Britain and its imperialist plans. One of Al-Saud's, erm Kings... designated himself as an Imam (a title given to the utmost Islamic religious leader who has complete sovereignty) and joined forces with some pseudo-religious guerrillas who came from Sudan and Egypt (Note: Britain trained these for future military action after poisoning their ideology with jihad and how they should fight for a united Arab Caliphate state. This has its fruits today with America's own creation Al-Qaeda). They were called 'The Brothers' or Al-Ikhwan, and soon some Wahabist (early Taliban-like fighters), joined the King which enabled him to defeat most areas around Al-Riyadh in 1921 like Ha'el, Al-Jouf in the north, and Wadi Al-Sarhan near Jordan.
WW-I Ottoman soldiers.
To fortify his fledgling state, he sent letters to the Arab leaders around Mecca (Cherif Hussein Bin Ali, who was given after WW-I the area that was known as TransJordan or Jordan which became a Kingdom after the British refused to assign that title to one of its earliest Amirs, King Abdallah-I the son of Hussien Bin Ali who was eh, exiled to Cyprus by the British as his son Abdallah was given the ruling seat), and some other few in Ha'el (Shiek Saud Bin Saleh Al-Sabhan), and one Shiek Mubarak Al-Sabah in Kuwait for a conference. That conference was the first nail in the Ottoman's coffin. The only one who refused to connive against the Turks was the Saudi Saud Bin Saleh who vowed to fight those who go against the Ottomans. Cherif Hussein was fully backed by the British Jews and banker imperialists who paid for his title 'Cherif' of Mecca (Note: it's a noble title given only to those who are direct descents of The Prophet Mohammed's lineage or what's called Aal Al-Bayt; the House People. Hussein... wasn't).

Al-Cherif Al-Hussein Bin Ali.
Hussein was a trader in Mecca pretty much unknown until the Hajj season came by where he offered the pilgrims some water and food so that he can be seated with the elite rulers who visited the Hajj yearly in huge, immaculate caravans. Britain has set plans for its growing naval fleet to be supplied from those still undiscovered oil fields that some spies wrote intelligence reports secretly directed back to the British government about how there could be a plenitude of oil and petroleum in that vast, arid desert called the Empty Quarter. They didn't waste time preparing for the Great War (read: a money-printing machine) and in December, 26th one Percy, ahem Cox... signed the so-called Anglo-Najdian Treaty in Darien Island near Al-Qateef. The Viceroy of Britain's colonies and India's ruler certified that treaty a year later in July, 1916 only annulling it in 1927 at the Jeddah Treaty after the British Empire took rights to all oil-fields in the Arabian Peninsula (and not just Saudi Arabia) when they kicked the Turks out with the aide of Hussein's tribesmen who came mostly from TransJordan's Huweitat tribe. It's called, "The Great Arab Revolt" (1916-1918).
Mecca's inner sanctum, 1910.
T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a.
Lawrence of Arabia).
Hussein Bin Ali was fooled by a faggoty British Army military map engineer stationed at that time in Cairo, Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia, 1888-1935) who was sent to Allepo in Syria, and reached Mecca and Hijaz wearing a woman's dress to scout for support, because they saw in Hussein an 'expansionist' who has asked them for more than what they wanted him to take. To wit, he declared himself as a Cherif and they agreed. Then, Amir of Mecca or ruler from 1908-1917 after the WW-I was almost over, and yes again... they complied because they were too busy oil-exploring and mapping the area. In 1924, he called all Arab Muslims to pay tribute to him as the Caliphate (a dynasty title that wasn't used since the days of Abbasite Caliphates in the 14th-century). The Brits asked Abdel-Aziz to abdicate him, on the promise of giving him that title which Hussein Bin Ali had ("King of Arabs"). With their war machinery together they ousted him to TransJordan where he continued to live until he was exiled and his son Abdallah-I was announced as an Amir... only. Yes, no more King of Arabs. He died in June, the 4th in 1931.
Mecca at the height of Hajj season. circa 1900's.
Prince Faisal of Iraq.
Britain in the meantime, continued to ship its troops to Basra, Iraq where their military base positions were situated, and appointed Hussein's son Prince Faisal as Iraq's ruler (later he was made a king) because along with Abdallah, these two backed Britain's plans to finally dispose of their father who was aiming for the birth of a Pan-Arabic supernation. It's a remarkable plot made to take control of all of the Arab world by one false promise given to one 'cherif'. The British rule stretched after WW-I all the way to Iran, Transoxiana (modern Central Asia), Afghanistan, and beyond. These places that still never saw any resting days until now with their inventive religiocy (religious-idiocy) rules and clandestine operations throwing the area into a deep blackhole of so-called Terrorism, Islamophobia, and oilarchy. The British (and later, Americans who are actually British-ruled as the U.S. is nothing but a mega-corporation for the U.K.) came as liberators and tried to force their democracy on the people of the region save for... Saudi Arabia. The question is: why were Saudis saved that much-abhorred 'democrazy' invasion? Because, they discovered in Saudia Arabia the largest reservoirs of oil and natural gas in the entire world.
Old Bedouin houses in the Saudi Arabian desert.

Let's continue with the story...

Old Jeddah in the 1920s.
To celebrate their 'Independence' from the cherif and his allies, Al-Saud took over all of the main cities in Hijaz like Mecca, Al-Madinah, Al-Ta'eif, and were so close at achieving this goal set for them to achieve by their overlords the Brits. By, December the 5th of 1925 and with the aide of those religio-military rouge forces called Ikhawan led by Faisal Al-Duweish and one of the Islamic Brotherhood's most notorious figures Ibn Hamid, the Sauds took over Jeddah. Abdel-Aziz Bin Abdelrrahmane Al-Saud declared the whole region as one Kingdom calling it at first Mamlakat Al-Hijaz, Najd Wa Mulhaqatiha (The Kingdom of Hijaz, Najd And Its Affiliates). Saudi Arabia was born.
Abdel-Aziz Bin Abdelrrahmane Al-Saud
touring with ARAMCO officials at Ras Tabbourah, 1948.
The first thing that Abdel-Aziz did was to call Faisal-I King of Iraq to fortify the 'brotherly' relations of the two kingdoms. In Ras Tannourah, a British military officer Sir Patrick Stewart went along with his writer and translator abroad the ship 'Nearchus' associated with the British fleet for telecommunications (read: intelli-op), to meet with the British Councillor Humphrey on another ship called 'Lupine' and held that meeting between the two kings in 27th, February, 1930. After three subsequent secret meetings, everyone declared 'Good Wills' and soon, British people knew that the time was finally ripe to reap... the wealths of both kingdoms (Iraq is of course no longer a Kingdom it doesn't even exist anymore). Thursday September the 19th, 1932 (17th Jamada Al-Awwal, 1351 Hijrii years), Abdel-Aziz was given what the British invaders of Hijaz promised him and he united the entire region to become known as Al-Mamlakah Al-Arabia Al-Saudia (The Al-Saud's Arabian Kingdom and not Saudi Arabia as it's known now, because these Al-Sauds still wanted to be 'Kings of All Arabs').

British Petroleum was born here.
As for Iraq, King Faisal the First promised to safeguard British oil-interests and he indeed granted large oil-concessions to British firms. For that Britain paid him £ 800,000 per month which was a beyond-belief-at-that-time amount of hush-hush money. But, during WW-II Iraq was invaded in 1941 by British troops and Arab Legion ones who came marching from TransJordan (a.k.a. The Hashemnite Kingdom of Jordan, now turned into a Kingdom under the rule of King Abdallah-I because it has always been a 'pathfinder' state for the Brits and of course now... The Americans. He was assassinated in Jerusalem in July, 20th 1951). And, yes worthy to mention, too was how ten years after WW-II was over in 1958 King Faisal-II was assassinated in a military coup. Faisal's father was also killed in a car crash when he was only three years old. The State of Israel was born in 1948, and Britain withdrew from the whole region gradually and Al-Sauds weren't even touched. Oh, not necessarily so: they were probed instead for oil that the Jews had nicknamed 'the black gold'. Ouch!
D'aww! A white-as-snow purdy kid meets the monarch!
Endearing, innit? No further comments.

The Oilarchists:
An American woman from ARAMCO,
with some veiled ethno... "interests".

 G.D. Scofield 1939.
Ever since the days of WW-I were over, and every damn British, Dutch, and American oil-expert was sent there to 'sniff' for all available oil-fields and mineral reservoirs. In 1933, a California-based oil company won the tenders of oil exploration in Saudi Arabia (SOCAL: Standard Oil of California, now known simply as CHEVRON), on a landlot of half a million square miles signing the contract with King Adberrahmane Bin Abd Al-Aziz Al-Saud. Not bad for America, right? Fuck yeah. Five years later, the hugest oil field was discovered: Damam-7 in an area known as the "Arab-Geological Area", and in less than one year... the first oil-carrier ship (D.G. Scofield) leaves the Saudi Arabian harbour of Ras Tannourah in May, 1939 (carrying 1/20th of any oil-carrier's capacity these days) just months before WW-II started. What a coincidence! From that date until 1999, around 90 oil fields were discovered, seven of these were for nat-gas which is why the new wars are being fought for.
Early Oil Expedition, 1930s.
Maz Steinky, (1st from R).
American geologists depended on bedouin scouts in Saudi Arabia to explore that dangerous desert. They're known as naturally-born cowards these Amerifags, so instead of having a first-hand exploration expedition at the region they either sent bedouin scouts with some Arab translators to the desert, or flew airplanes over the region to look for 'gushers': natural pressure oil fields. An American geologist named Max Steinky (he was Jewish by the way, and just for the record) came in 1934 and became head of geologists there at SOCAL. One of the most helpful bedouin scouts was Khamees Bin Ramthan of the Ajman tribe who helped Steinky in his work. In 1934, a Fairchild-71 airplane specially-made for long-distance air-photography work landed at Al-Jubeil town in Saudia and started further advanced search from the air. (Note: this bedouin was credited at discovering the first oil field which was drilled in December 6th, 1936 at 32 kliks north-west of Al-Damam (Al-Alat Oil Field)).

TAP-LINE's N-718A Airplane.
ARAMCO's N-721A in Tarif 1955.
Khamees Ramthan in 1955.
That field wasn't a commercial success. So, American geologists went to another oilfield-site they had drilled earlier called Damam-7 to deepen it further which led to discovering large oil reserves that were right under the first excavation work that took place in the early 30's. Ten other oilfields were drilled later on (thanks to Ramthan's efforts and scout work), and together they formed what was called "The Damam Dome". Later, numerous other oil fields were drilled at the hands of Max Steinky and his team like Al-Ghwar, Baqiq, and Al-Qateef oilfields which make the 'main' Saudi Arabian fields until this very day. In 1951, Al-Safanyah oil field was discovered 225 kilos off the shores of Dahran, which became the largest underwater oil-field in the world. Damam-7 itself was shut later in 20th, April 1989 by ARAMCO (the new name of SOCAL) after producing almost 325 million barrels!

A gusher oilfield, 1950's.
Saudi ARAMCO workers, 1940's.
Old ARAMCO employees say that Damam-7 (was later known as "Lucky Number 7") has set Saudi Arabia to lead the world in oil-production. During WW-II it made between 12-15 thousand barrels per day (bpds) which was astronomical by those times' standards. This 'Luck' wasn't anyone's but the Jews, British, and Americans who changed the face of earth after that war was over ushering in the nuclear age as a carrot-at-the-end-of-a-stick always threatening the world with it (America's the world's sole nuclear threat if ever there will be one), to fulfill hefty world domination plans. Saudi Arabia has now 1/4 of the total world production of oil. 40% of the total reserves of oil are actually in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Arab-Gulf countries because Ameri-British colonialists wanted it to be 'this way', or no way and in Mecca of all places... for some secret religious reasons that has arcane eschatonic roots going back to prophecies of Biblical times written as far as 6000 years ago by the Hebraic Jews who fooled when they fooled at first, their own people, and I'd rather not talk about it any further in this music blog. I keep this to myself.
An early sea oilfield, 1940's.
A Saudi bedouin, 40's.
Iran's oil reserves and most of those of close Arab countries have shared 'vent-tunnels' and some say that the First Gulf War in 1991 was fought because Iraq tried to drill for an oil field near Kuwait that would have siphoned Kuwaiti oil off to Iraq, and who convinced them on doing so? Saudi monarchs backed by American high-ranking intelligence officers. Iraq was invaded two times earlier, and now it's Iran's turn. Odd thing is, these two were both accused as 'nuclear threats' by the western-run media. Iraq's history now, but those allegations proved... wrong. Huh? Small wonder, since Americans and their allies; the Brits, want the world now to shake with the fear of a neo-holocaust at Iran's feet with its non-existence nukes. Iran has no nuclear heads. Iran and the Shi'ite ruling party (F.Y.I.: shi'ites make only 47% of the total population of Iran), is part of the game itself. Point. Iran was used as a wild card by American C.I.A. ever since the Islamic Revolution days (ah, another one comes around right?), as this 'wild card' they kept during the early 80's and in more than 450 days of "Live!" broadcasts of Islamic terrorists seen by millions of fat, bored, neurotic, diet-fucked, hormonally-imbalanced, crazy fuckeredup Americunts watching their 'aww!'-fella 'Merrycans as hostages in the Iran-U.S. Embassy debacle! Whoa, babe! Les' go gerr dees goat-grabbin' somnabitches, Jawnny Boi!
One of ARAMCO's early trucks.
ARAMCO Saudi worker, 40's.
The Arabian Gulf (that name was changed in all world maps from Persian into... Arabian by the British), was shaking with fear of Iran because the people in say, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the U.A.E. who were bred by Americans on the same diets of fast-food shipped directly from the United States, and inoculation programmes that started way back in the 30's and 40's by the good-intentioned "ARAMCowboys", and education system (ARANCO has opened around 4000 schools in Saudi Arabia, and had its own T.V. station to educate these nomads in the 50's). ARAMCO has worked so hard ever since to change the mind-set of these nomads and make them hate the east, and love the west so much, that it's said that whenever you see an old man in Saudi Arabia who talks perfect English you should know that he is one of ARAMCO's retirees. Nomads... I mean, Saudis even thank that company wholeheartedly and almost conjure images of angelic wings for that filthy 'Americunning' company's invasion of such a holy land. It sometimes makes their eyes filled with dewy tears!
ARAMCO's T.V. truck, 50's.
Other European countries took a share of that 'holy' pie in the sky: Holland came with its experts dressed as Shell Co. to build the longest oil pipe-line (TAP-LINE) in the history of mankind: a 1,212 kilometer-long pipe that connects the kingdom with the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea where oil could be safely transported to refineries and shipped all the way to Europe so that Eurofags would yeah, be able to stop by a gas station and curse on top of their heads (as Europeans often do) of why... gas prices are so fuxspensive like this?! Back to Saudi Arabia now, and Engineer Ali Al-Na'aeemi, the Saudi Minister of Petroleum has announced recently, that the kingdom has plans of raising its excavatory works from 50% to 70% in average to followup on the expanding world demand of oil and its products. Saudi Arabia is known as the world's largest producer of oil, but not gas. They want to stay a vital player in this game producing more and more oil than what they have already done. The world itself as a whole has produced almost 1 trillion barrels since the late 19th century, and some say that there are 5 other trils waiting to be discovered and used at the least. In Simple English words: The wars will never stop.
An old ARAMCO truck, 1950's.
Petroleum and Arabs.
Anyways, Saudi Arabia is 'old newspapers' now, as Qatar has taken the title of "The Richest Country in the World" just a few days ago in a Forbes magazine survey. The secret word? Gas... Natural Gas (Nat-Gas). Why again? Because when nat-gas was discovered in huge quantities around Syria, Libya, and Egypt... Qatar feared competition from these countries as most would go sell their gas using less tariffs than Qatar does. Qatari officials and heads of state have been meeting with delegations from the U.S., U.K., the E.U., and Israel too  in order for this gagglefuck to reach a 'negotiating price' for their own gas on the condition that these western forces (in addition to Israel), shall take action to stop those countries from even thinking of making any plans of extracting their nat-gas reserves. Some studies ominously foresaw Arabian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a post-Pan-Arab-Nat-Gas scenario going back to their pre-60's days when most of the population around the Arabian Gulf were as poor as a church's mouse.
ARAMCO's archive: bedouins near a watering hole, 40's.
QALCO (owned by Qatar Industrial Services Establishment (QIS) and run by Al-Alfia Group 'Millennium Group' which has tight relations to British Jewish banking families and wealthy Ameri-Jews), is now the new SALCO. One letter change? Eh. The aftermath is still not quite visible not after almost two years of these Arab Youth riots that took the region by a storm. Affirmed information has traced the plans of making such chaos in the Middle-East to as far as 2006. President Obama signed the scenarios in August of that year giving American intelligence agents all over the world the green 'go-light' on the whole shebang, that damn nigger. This world is being given news-feeds about the same story of terrorism and human-rights' violations done by the Arab regents, presidents and what-all, when all of these now labelled as 'dictators' by the west were put there in the power seat in preplanned 60's coups and communist-backed revolutions. What a pathetic situation! And, how little do you know, dear readers. It's not time for revolution in the west, no. Only the east should revolt against his leaders because, damn... they have no democracy whatsoever. Communism and Capitalism are one and the same thing. And, all today's world's revolutionists are tomorrow's tyrants. Today's righteous are tomorrow's bigots.
Pictures of early Aramco workers 30's-40's.
Today's Arab (Great?) Revolt is also... Yesterday's Great Arab Revolt, only change is... it's now based not on oil but on gas. Crude oil is normally used to generate electric power and countries in the west like Holland, and Britain cannot afford the high cost of excavating for deeper oil wells. In the mid-90's, geological surveys discovered large reservoirs of natural gas around the western coast of Syria near Lattakia port city (Note: an intended invasion by a multi-national force of around 23 countries was pre-scenario'd in The Eager Lion military excercises that were held right here in Jordan and will come trying to invade Syria just like they did to Iraq, and in the same way the west has tried to topple down the Ottomans one hundred years ago from Jordan. Be prepared). Syria has built the world's largest gas-refinery in Lattkia with Venezuelan and Iranian money, both countries are the stick which American invaders used 10 years ago to lead Syria into the ruse. In the northern shores of the Libyan Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of billions of cubic meters of natural gas were discovered, and now Qaddafi's dead? Hmm. Egypt has built one of the largest nat-gas cities (Madinat Mubarak in D'mieat, that stretches over a one-million cubic-meter expansion in the north), and uh... Hussni Mubarak's dying? Fer piss' sake babes! Oops, I mean gas' sake wake the fuck up, goddamn it. Let's talk about 'God' here, aite?
Qasas, or cutting hands of theives. 50's.
An Aramco driving license, 80's.
Saudi Arabia after all has the world's worst human rights' record (so much for democracy, amirite?), and still it's not America's business. They are banning women to drive a simple car because they say Islam forbade this almost 1500 years ago when donkeys and camels were like the Bentleys and Rolls-Royces that these fatso fuckedup religiots drive nowadays, and still... they allow American and western 'unveiled' women in oil companies to drive their cars. Hmm. Ohkay. And... the royal family is known as a bunch of stupid goons who abuse drugs, alcohol, women, and even have slaves (Oman banished slavery in 1970! And, Saudi Arabia still has it going on unabashed. It's called now 'neo-slavery'). They adhere to the most strict Islamic rulings against simple crimes like theft (petty theft most of the time can cost you your hands), while these fat thieving Al-Sauds get past the Allah-censor unscathed. What? Why? Don't these have fat hands like billyo? It's a fucked up situation all under the blessing of the western world powers. They're leading the way now in these Youth Arab Spring uprisings you watch your T.V. as you eat your dinner. These monied Saudis just want to make sure that their masters would always be descending enough to buy their petrol and gas at almost dirt-cheap prices. Win-win, babes. Win-Win.

Syrian pro-Assad fighters.
Religious Wars are fought for no-one and thus are won by nobody. What are these Youth/Arab Revolts for? Democracy I hear some of you say? Well, fuck you. No. There is no such thing as Democracy, sons. It's all done for the next-best substitute of Arab rulers: Islamist fundamentalists. When these will be given the new ruling seats, the west will rest their cockles for good in the knowledge that nothing will work out for Arabs, and nobody will know about their 'undergoings' in the region. Who's leading the wars today again after 100 years of those last ones? Americans. And, the British. Oh, sheesh y'all! Guys... I am sorry to say this, but again... I'm not: if the western people keep eastern people killing each other in the name of God (theirs, yours, mine, or nobody's because we have Christians, and Jews as well as Muslims here) while their oiled, black hands are full of Arabs' blood that runs right now in Syrian, Libyan, Egyptian, and Iraqi towns and cities as the petrodollars that you western readers are already hard working to pay your governments for whatever heating-gas, and car petrol you were conditioned to use and depend on... are still flowing like one of those oil gushers... naturally... you are being stupid. You should not allow this to continue. If you do know this... then fine, but if you don't then that's worse.

I rest my case here (x), and for further readings go there where one can see what oil means to these people.


A Syrian niqabi Muslima asking:
"Freedom for Syria". Freedom?
Israeli Jet-fighters.
The war in Syria is starting right now as you read this. It's called by some writers, "Spain-II" (a reference to make it sound like a civil-war), or some called it The Prelude to WW-III. It's backed 110% by Qatar royal-fuckaroos, and Saudi religio-bastards. Religious monarchies around the Arab world like Saudi Arabia were created and breast-fed slowly on a culture of hate and vengeance mastered by the U.S. and the U.K.. They want the east to take it all on the west (you, yourselves! Can you fuckin' read?) so that, one day... you won't blame your 'civil' countries in case that... they had to go with wars with these 'rouge' nations, or liberate the poor Arabs from what they themselves have given them years ago when your parents were getting high in the 60's. Islam is not a living religion, even Prophet Mohammed said that it will wither away as soon as he dies. A new Franken-Islam is all of what you can see now. It's what the Jews know by heart, and this is how they use one religion/faith/philosophy/etc... against another. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche said once that, "Jews have taught the World hatred." So yeah fuck this world if it's only Jews running it.
"We're this close... to achieving world dominance."
I say... Hillary Clinton, dream on assbitch.
Fuck this world stiff for fuckin' ever if it can't change, and when it can only change or ask for any change... only, for the sole benefit of a handful of world powers and fat, ugly, boring-bored leaders. And, yeah... smile and say "cheddar!" world leaders for your time has come to kiss dickhole for good because some people think that you're no longer needed. Huh? What do they call these, babes? Remind me, someone: World Government? The New Zeitgeist? Pathway to the Stars? The Secret Temple Pilots? Planet Zog? Shame! What a shame, indeed! We are living in an informavore-world full to hilt with bullshit and lies. All of this you see arawndya is a huge heap of horse manure, bovine scatology, cow-yard confetti, you name it. This change they're talking about and filling the 'Madia' (Mad Media) with is going to come soon mother fuckers. Very fuckin' soon.

That's all, people. See ya when I see ya!




Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but you're leaning towards some antisemitism, man.

This is coming from someone who is an Arab Jew/Jewish Arab/whatever.

Hammer said...

Man, I know that.

This is coming from Hammer who is an Arab Jew/Jewish Arab/whatever.

Hope yer pickin' whatever I'm droppin' here. Dig.


Anonymous said...

Well I'm confused ;).

Got any plans for some yemeni posts coming up?

Hammer said...

Yeah sure, why not.

Stay tuned if ya wish.


Anonymous said...

This is just amaziiiinnnggg!!! I have eyes pain of reading, Im soooo sleepy but I cannot stop!! Mohammed Abodu is just fantastic. Cannot believe I didn't know him before! I just adore him! Reminds me on Hamza el Din, a great one as well.
Thank you so much!! You made me so happy!
Tomorrow I will continue!

Hammer said...

Yer welcome. This is just an introduction to his music. I still might write him one more post in later days.

Glad that you're enjoying this guys.

P.s.: Blogger couldn't stomach this huge post enough to show it at blog-roll lists on most blogspot.com sites. Sad, but eh... this isn't the first time this shiatzu happens 'ere. So, big whupski on that... as long as people are enjoying it.

Dig with teeth and gummers.


LolaRadio said...

sjoekran habibi

Hammer said...

Glad you have enjoyed this post, Gerrit.

Note: More Sudanese musicians and their wonderful music are to get featured here very, very soon. (Balabil? Yessir).

Take care.


walkingtrees said...

just found this blog, what a wealth of information and music. thank you dearly hammer!


highplainsdrifter said...

I have downloaded all of these Abdou albums. I have been on your site for 10 hours straight now.

My knowledge of Middle Eastern music is not great though I've had an interest in Fairouz, Matoub Lounes and some of the other giants for some years...not extensive, though.

But there is one particular album that has mesmerized me, "Qaryat Al Fengan" by Abdel Halim Hafez. Do you know it? Do you think you'll ever do a bio/retrospective on Hafez?

Hammer said...

Great album/song by Hafez it is, yes. It's also one of my favourites where Arab music had a close brush with trying something psychedelic and actually, 'progressive'; music-spieling, of course, because in the Arab countries of those times (the song was first sang live in the spring of 1976), drug culture or any psychedelics' references weren't existent at that time.

It's a very intricately orchestrated, multi-improvisational, passionate song-poem put to song by composer Mohammed El-Moughi who spent two entire years just writing the music for the words of renowned Syrian poet Nizar Qabani's poem 'The Palm Reader'; or more literally, 'The Tasseographer': one who reads and divinates using the entrails of an already-drank coffee cup to foretell the future; which is something common to do throughout the Arab region, especially in the early morning right after drinking one's morning coffee.

It is impossible for me to write about Abdel-Halim Hafez. Most of his songs are commercially available (sans the rare live haflahs, or live acts that only hardcore fans know like the palms of their hands), but this is not why I wouldn't do a separate post about Halim: This alone would need a whole year to write, and I would do it on a book-form instead of a casual blog entry because seriously, this music is very well-revered where I live, and if someone doesn't come up with something unheard before, they better not bother about it.

I do have one of Halim's rarest libve acts on file within my music collection, though, and it would be great to (insert a deep, deep exasperate sigh here), find the time to write again in this blog which I started by mere chance. I have stopped all-together writing and this really irks me, but what can I do? Life, as we say here in the Arab region, "chews you" and spits you out only... when you are too tired to do anything at all.

All in all... Abdel-Halim stays a legend whom many wrote about. You can make a very simplistic Google Search session and come out with thousands and thousands of essays, and articles written about him in any possible language desired. I am glad that you are taking the time to enjoy this place, nonetheless: it is just how I started it, and still is at its initiatory stages; and very single-sickle-cell phaseology (to borrow some wordisms from the world of mock-science).

Do enjoy: I also enjoyed your blog that I visited more than a year ago, and fell in love with the Eros-Plus series' covers: coo', coo' shagadelic ones, bross.

Keep awn diggin'.


karabasov said...

Many (maybe all) links seem dead. I know I am about two years late, but is there any hope to have them working again?
Shukran jazilan!

faceface said...

Yes, do you mind reuploadung any of these?