Amar, the Lebanon-based Arabic Music And Research Foundation, is rescuing and digitising the earliest recordings of Arabic music, performances caught on fragile 78s.
Abd Al-Hayy Hilmi is well worth preserving: a capricious diva, who sang women’s songs as well as men’s, he died young of excessive drinking after a sea turtle feast. His voice, cajoling and improvisatory, shines out of the occasional lacquer crackle.
Abd Al-Hayy Hilmi
An Anthology 1857-1912