Hamza Alaa El Din


Born in Toskha, Nubia, in Egypt, Mr. El Din began playing oud while studying engineering at the University of Cairo. He also studied at the King Fouad Institute of Middle Eastern Music. Learning of the plans to build the Aswan Dam, he quit his engineering job in Cairo and set off to preserve Nubian music before the people were dispersed. With his oud, an instrument unknown in Nubia, he traveled from village to village by donkey, gathering songs. He was playing in traditional Arabic style; it wasn’t until his music acquired a distinctly Nubian flavor that it caught on.

“One day I felt the oud had a Nubian accent. I played for people in my village and they were mesmerized. I knew I had something.”

Hamza El Din, The Chronicle, 1995

Hamza El Din plays with the Grateful Dead at the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt 1978

Selected Articles

Mohamed Mounir

Mohamed Mounir (b.1954) is an Egyptian-Nubian singer, actor, and pop music icon. He was born and raised in Aswan, and he and his family were part of the Aswan High Dam relocation. He incorporates many different genres into his music, including the traditional sounds of Nubian folkloric music. In addition to his prolific music career, he has starred in many hit films, television shows, and theatre productions. He wrote and performed the theme song to the beloved children’s television Bakkar, which follows the journeys of a young Nubian boy.

Mohammed Wardi

Mohammed Osman Hassan Salih Wardi (1932-2012) is a Sudanese-Nubian singer and songwriter.

Ali Hassan Kuban

Ali Hassan Kuban (1929-2001) was a Nubian singer and bandleader. He was known as the “Captain” or “Godfather” of Nubian music. During the 1950s, he started adding Western instruments such as the saxophone, electric guitar, bass guitar, organ, trumpet and accordion to his ensemble.