Abdel Halim Hafez … a little voice and a lot of crying


  The July Revolution contributed to his popular and official rise (Getty)</p><div><p>Is the luster receded <a href="https://www.alaraby.co.uk/taxonomy/term/13035">Abdel Halim Hafez</a> In the last years?  At the very least, he is no longer competing with the current pop stars as he used to be.

Today marks 44 years since his passing, after a career that made him the most influential Arab singer in the second half of the twentieth century; He changed the methods of singing, leaving a clear imprint that does not resemble anyone else’s.

With this, he had a role in making the weak and even the bad voices take over the singing world. When he appeared, Halim was aware that the prevailing requirements of singing are not commensurate with the area of ​​his voice, he also has a shortcoming in performing the eastern maqamat, unlike his performance of the three-fourths of the volume-free maqamat. So, he will work to compensate for this shortcoming with emotional overuse.

He accompanied “in a day, in a month, in a year”, he transformed the concepts of singing, and with it the “feeling” became more important than the sound. Perhaps he gave singing a thrilling dimension that was not unprecedented, but he was also the type capable of imposing his presence, as he possessed all the qualifications for stardom, and stuck to the summit, despite the circumstances and pains of illness.

Abdel Halim imposed his singing personality with all its positives and some of its negatives. Away from the vocal area, it has a beautiful sound and an attractive tenor layer, as Arabic singing was biased towards the class, the bass sounds, and that taste changed. Meaning that everything Abdel Halim touched in his career took on a new and different meaning from what he preceded.

The Broadcasting Committee approved him as a singer, but he continued to work in its band as an oboist. It is said that the first song he recorded was another artist, perhaps Abdelghani Al-Sayed, but an emergency circumstance prevented him from coming. Halim caught his chance and announced that he could record it. Some get opportunities and lose them, but not him. In four years, he recorded dozens of songs for radio. Perhaps no one caught his attention, or few believed in his talent. And what is said, Abd al-Ghani al-Sayed had predicted, saying: “It seems that Al-Wad is sitting in the house.” That is, it will be a reason for the retirement of other artists.

The master did not believe in Halim’s talent, as far as he noticed aspects of his personality, which carried him to reach what he wanted. Most likely it was Abdel Halim who asked the official at the radio station to adopt his name, to become “Hafez” instead of “Shabana.” His first songs were recorded on the radio in the name of Abdel Halim Shabana, and not as the popular version came. It seems that most of what he presented was not of his choice, as many of those songs were not able to make room for his voice, and among the composers he dealt with at that time, he kept his two friends Kamal Al-Tawil And Mohammed Al-MojiHe owes them great thanks for refining his style, and their melodies were his creation.

When asked about the first song he recorded, he would reply that it is a poem “Liqaa” composed by Al-Tawil. In fact, he performed several songs before it

Most probably, Abdel Halim tried to deny some of the features of that period. When asked about the first song he recorded, he would answer that it was a poem “Liqa ‘” composed by Al-Tawil. In fact, he performed several songs before that, but Halim neglected an aspect of his career that forced him to record any available song that could make his voice on the radio. Perhaps he did not want to harm his image in the public. Therefore, he always asserts that “Safini Marra”, Al-Mouji’s melody, is the first song that draws attention to him. It was perhaps the first song in which his lyrical style clearly crystallized, and allows his voice to demonstrate his beauty with emotional expression. We all know that song “May longing ”From Kamal’s long melody, she was the one who opened the door to success for him, and he did not abandon that, to become the owner of the story we know. However, there was a dramatic aspect to him, to the point that he identified with him the whole time.

Abdel Halim was another symbol of the transformation that Egypt witnessed after the revolution, a symbolism that overshadowed the Arab world with all its rhetorical insecurities, and Abdel Halim’s voice was its dreamy and romantic dimension. In order to grant him his due, the unprecedented boldness of the little boy must be shown, who drew his listeners’ feelings with pain and crying, as if his songs were autobiographical, with his voice, like impossible love stories.

Abdel Halim was another symbol of the transformation that Egypt witnessed after the revolution, a symbolism that overshadowed the Arab world with all its rhetorical insecurities, and Abdel Halim’s voice was its dreamy and romantic dimension.

Thus, Abdel Halim opened his success story, announcing himself in a dramatic way, in his second film “Nights of Love” as a model of lyrical modernity, touching the songs of the past with remarkable sarcasm in the song “Oh Sir,” which allows old vocals to rotate, and in it he sings old molds.

The song deals with a situation in the film, where he fell into the grip of the pasha, and in order not to put him in jail, he sang ancient forms to satisfy his taste. However, Halim performs the old stereotypes with a sarcastic expression that he excelled, especially in Umm Kulthum’s poem, “You are the right to wish and wish.” Was it the mockery of all the representatives of the old movement, including Umm Kulthum? But Abdel Halim, with remarkable malice, seals the cobblestone, to announce himself, with a less disdainful expression, “I have a story, sir, that will change the course of the rapture.”

Obviously, he did everything carefully, and he even chose Umm Kulthum’s ex-husband, Mahmoud al-Sharif, to compose the song. Nevertheless, we wonder: Did the same era have a role in the formation of that biography to make one of its heroes or symbols? Halim’s success coincided with the clarity of the features of a new era, specifically after the rise Jamal Abdulnasser President of Egypt, that is, the year 1954. The revolution was looking for a representative for it, and there is no one more capable than Halim: the history of his struggle, his poverty and his illness, his rise from the bottom to the top, then his emotional approach to singing, that is, presenting himself as a representative of a modern, revolutionary and romantic current.

In another context, Abdel Halim wanted to spread his grief to everyone. He tried to make his grief and cries a way of life. It was a delicate singing, but it reinforced the traits of weakness, surrender to torment and identification with it. Nevertheless, the profound masochism in Arab culture cannot be overlooked. Those lamentations are rooted in our singing, which Abdel Halim did not invent. But he granted himself the right to arouse sympathy, and he made this cry centered on himself. Unlike Umm Kulthum or Abd al-Wahhab, no matter how arrogant they do not want us to sympathize with them, which is the difference between aristocratic condescension and revolutionary populism.

Perhaps this aspect made Abdel Halim close and familiar to people. Meanwhile, the revolution had to find the artist of the people he was. The owner of “Qaraat al-Fnjan” created his singing personality, and refined it in a way that raises the aesthetic of his voice.

In the technical aspects, he was not very good. When he sang “Fatouni” and “Melody Al Wafa” by Riad Al-Sunbati, he did not feel at ease. His voice has a ritual accent, the character of a tenor at the top, a feature that has shaped many of his works. At the beginning of “What a tear of mourning” at the shrine of al-Hazzam, the melody is performed by a form of protest.

The author of the book “The Character of Egypt”, Gamal Hamdan, points out that if something is counted for Abdel Halim, it is not his voice, but rather that he was lucky with his composers, the long and wavy. But we do not lose sight of Abdel Halim’s ingenuity in photography, even if it is not calculated for the sound, when he sings a sentence from the nahawand in the song “Risalah from Under the Water” which is “Oh all the present and the past, oh Omar Al-Omar”.

Also, the command counts for the Moji, who gave the melody a draft on which Abdel Halim’s voice builds his expressive glow. He was already lucky with his composers more than anything else, which made him announce that his story would change the course of the rapture, and he was right, leaning on his composers. Without finding them, he would not have been enriched or known for his stardom. Abdel Halim was also fortunate when he concluded his career with a great melody, “Qara`at Al-Fnjan”, although the melody included a lot of wonderful and vulgar, the prologue was amplified by melodic elements that did not make sense. It did not witness escalation in the end, as its last clip was of less value.

The third section, with the melody of the Hazam, especially in the musical phrase, was a fabrication trying to satisfy the oriental taste, while it assumed a fine expressive character. Al-Moji talked about it in some way with an eloquent Hamdi “promised” melody, even if he outdid it.

Abdel Halim always had a dramatic style in his songs, as he declared that his sweetheart “has no land, homeland or address,” and he used to announce the wandering of his life. At the same time, it embodies a phase of wandering song, politics and smoke rising in the back halls of cities. Certainly, singing after Halim is not the same as before. But he also left an army of imitators after him. When Al-Sunbati was asked about Hani Shaker, he replied that he preferred to listen to the original, that is, Abdel Halim, and not to the imitated. There were many things that could be imitated, even standing on the stage, and that was what Shaker could not, or the movement of the eyes and the extension of the arms with a gap, as Kazem El-Saher did.

Weak voices became the focus of lyrical interest, to the extent that Omar Fathi, the owner of the faded voice, had success had it not been for his quick death. The soft voice had created a definition for Abdel Halim: emotional, or sensitive. In one of his meetings during the seventies, he indicated that he had contributed to the emergence of “thin” voices, meaning that he made a large group capable of singing, which was not available to them in the past, but he also hindered great voices, because they do not know his emotional sense.


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