Hamza El Din (1929-2006, Sudanese)

Escalay (“Waterwheel”). Hamza El Din: tar. On The Kronos Quartet‘s album “Pieces of Africa”Elektra Nonesuch 9 79275-2 (US edition) or 7559-79275-2 (European edition) . 

Kronos’ typical “classical meets world music”. The substantial piece on the CD is Kevin Volans’ String Quartet “White Man Sleeps”. The rest is folk or traditional in string quartet attire, with a complement of various African instruments. Entertaining, easy-listening, but not substantial.

El Din’s entry on Wikipedia.  Of the composers featured on the album (other than Volansà, El Din is the one with the most ties to the West, since he was “discovered” in the US in 1964 upon his appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, was instrumental in the discovery and success of the genre that would be called “world music” and very influential on the pop scene and with some minimalist composers. He established  in the US the 1970s, held teaching positions in various universities and remained there to his death in 2006.

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