Saturday, June 15, 2013

Karem Mahmoud | Karem Mahmoud

Get it here.

Found in the Nile Deli on Steinway Street today after very long, satisfying bike ride.

You've gotta love an Egyptian classical pop superstar whose last words, to his surgeon, were "Guard my vocal cords." Mahmoud was just shy of 73 years old at the time. He didn't make it through surgery, alas, though his voice, if not the physical presence of breath through the twin infoldings of mucous membrane stretched horizontally across his larynx, "lives on," as they say.

Their having said that, the truth is, today was the first time I'd ever seen the name Karem Mahmoud; I had no prior knowledge of his existence and thus not the slightest inkling of what the man could do simply by vibrating certain of his mucous membranes. Fortunately, the Nile Deli occasionally still orders CDs, even things as old as this one, which was burned into polycarbonate plastic by Digital Press Hellas in 1989. (Nile Deli also ordered just about every single Amr Diab CD from the 1980s-1990s and, yes, I snatched all 11 of them up -- sit tight, my pretties, all in good time.)

According to his English-language Wikipedia page, Mahmoud was known as the "Melodious Knight," which frankly, in English, has a vaguely unseemly ring to it, at least to these ears, perhaps because it's so close to the "Malodorous Knight." But, then, I'm the one who brought up mucous membranes, so, you know -- grain of salt, or whatever.

My uncalled for and no doubt inappropriate bias aside, this nearly forgotten gem is a quiet (one might even say quite a quiet) revelation. Well worth a listen. 

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