Zikra: Remembering ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz

March 27, 2021 1PM ET/ 7PM EET

(Registration form located below) 

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Mangialardi

Performance by: Ahmed Harfoush and the Harfoush Jazz Band 

Info about the lecture:

By the end of his career, ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz was the most popular singer in Egypt. Radio stations received unprecedented numbers of requests of his songs, and he earned more money for his concerts than any other performer of the day. His cassette sales were similarly unmatched. Nor was Halim’s impact limited to the music sphere. As a pop celebrity, he shaped the everyday lives of Egyptians, from the way they dressed and styled their hair to where they spent their wedding night.  Despite his superstar status, many said that Halim “seemed familiar, like a relative or friend, one of your family members.” Among his contemporaries, no other singer developed such an intimate relationship with the Egyptian people, which made the news of his premature passing more shocking. As his funeral possession wound its way through the streets of Cairo in the spring of 1977, an estimated one million mourners came out to bid farewell to their “beloved son of Egypt.” 

The event will feature a presentation by Dr. Nicholas Mangialardi on the singer’s musical legacy followed by a live performance of ‘Abd al-Halim hits by Egyptian jazz vocalist Ahmed Harfoush and his band. 

About Presenters:

Nicholas Mangialardi:

Mangialardi received his PhD from Georgetown University in Arabic and Islamic Studies in 2020. His dissertation explores the music, life, and afterlife of Egyptian singer ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz. He has also conducted research in cities throughout Egypt on the development of hip hop culture in the country. As an ARCE Fellow in 2017-2018, Mangialardi co-organized the conference Egyptian Soundscapes: Music, Sound, and Built Environment, held in Cairo. 

Ahmed Harfoush: 

Harfoush spent his childhood between Washington DC and Cairo, Harfoush was exposed to both worlds at an early age. Once an Egyptologist then an administrator at Chicago House living in Luxor in the late 90s and later as a United Nations staff member in Cairo. 

Harfoush was clasically trained as a tenor performing with a few choirs in Cairo, then switched his interest in jazz. He established the Riff (jazz) Band in 2002 and co-founded the Cairo Jazz Festival in 2009 as well as producing jazz shows at esteemed Cairo music venues. After moving to London in 2014, he joined the local jazz scene and, with a taste for experimentation, brought to life a genre everyone loved unconditionally and a concept welcomed by everyone; The Egyptian Jazz Projekt. This music venture is a merge between songs from 1950s Egypt and America in a new fresh jazz arrangements. 

Registration will close 24 hours before the lecture starts. Registration does not include any future lectures in this series.