Next Music Station
Zakaria Ibrahim - El-Tanbura
'I searched for those people who had a spiritual relation with singing.'
Last Modified: 30 May 2011 14:40

"I'm Zakaria Ibrahim, director of Al-Mastaba Centre for Egyptian Folk Music, and founder of El-Tanbura band. 

I came back to Port Said in 1980. I discovered our musical heritage, which had carried our dreams, had changed. It was now something completely different, more commercial.

Even Port Said itself had changed into a free zone. Its social values had also changed.

I felt my mission was to find our old singers who refused to participate in this commercial music. People who had preferred to stay home. I searched for those people who had a spiritual relation with singing. People who refused to become money-collecting artists. Thank God, after nine years of a hard and idealistic search, I managed to found the band in December 1988.  

El-Tanbura is a group of musicians, singers and dancers who love this type of art. They have been together for more than 21 years. The El-Tanbura instrument is the big sister of the Al-Simsimiya instrument. The difference between the two instruments is the type and size of the string. The design is the same. El-Tanbura and Al-Simsimiya both existed during the Pharaohs' age.  

We have a profession here in Port Said called Bambutia.

The word Bambuti comes from an equivalent English word that means 'the man of the boat'.

I'm not sure what it is exactly. The Bambuti takes his boat after filling it with goods such as small statues of Tutankhamun and the pyramids or other things like small toy camels.

He rows until he reaches the big ships. Then he starts to whistle and shouts to attract the attention of those on the ship and shows them the things he wants to sell.

The Bambuti dance represents this. It starts with the dancer rowing, when he reaches the ship he whistles, talks, waves and shows his goods. All these moves are incorporated into the dance. He spins and throws the stuff.

I'm a very good Bambuti dancer."

Next Music Station airs at the following times GMT each week: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.