In loving memory of my beloved friend and Artist of the higest calibre, Sheikh Taha, may you rest in peace . The world of Egyptian Music lost a Giant who will never be replaced .....
SHEIKH TAHA was a well-known composer earning a modest living on his royalties. Some of his well known pieces include tunes I use in classand this is one of them , "Sah Enda Emboh" and he also composed "Hassan" .
He worked with many famous people e.g. Nagwa Fouad, Suheir Zaki and Abdel Halim Hafez – his career spanned in excess of 50 years or more. Those who merit the title Sheikh (masculine) or Sheika (feminine) are musicians/singers of great talent and renown who are recognised and respected as such. You also get the term Rais and Raisa used as well.
'Sah Ehdah Embo'
Translation: Give the baby lamb a drink
I am able to give you some background information on this piece, which will better enable you to understand the context of this song, and I am doing so with the consent of Sheikh Taha.
The story starts with an interesting character (a little unstable) called Rais Bira. Rais is a title pronounced rice meaning Chief/Boss/Master. So 'Chief Beer' –- beer because he likes beer. His occupation was undertaker, a wealthy job and he liked wearing big rings on his fingers he also plays percussion rather well. In the early 1970s Taha and Rais Bira were in a band with Ahmed Adawe - then not a celebrity.
Rais Bira was very taken with a certain lady and he composed a special song for her that he asked Taha to help him with. Taha agreed on the condition that he alone composed the music (and therefore had more rights, composers being better recognised and rewarded than lyricists).
Taha read the lyrics, which were about the delights of this lady, especially of her physical attributes and were over egged to say the least, also Rais Bira being slightly eccentric, some of them made no sense at all.
Taha said something along the lines that he would strip "some of the jewels to reveal the brilliance of the diamonds" (remember he was a diplomat!).
He told me that the original text was like reading a copy of the Daily Telegraph rather than an ode to love!! So with some adjustments he then composed the music. It goes like this:
AMIE pronounced am ee ay, meaning you are such an amazing woman I am upgrading you to the status of a man
the next part says FETCH ME A BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY (meaning the lady asks this of the man – she is inviting him to make love –- a real scandal at that time)
then MAKE MY LONG NIGHTS SHORTER (meaning let's get better acquainted and occupy our nights with more than sleep – even more scandalous.
I have heard lots of arrangements some are instrumental, but the one that I like best is found on "THE VERY BEST OF ADAWEIA".
Note the different spelling, Arabic is phonetic by the way. It is how you say it in English that is important. This raises an important point.
When you identify the name of the piece of music that you like, ensure that you get the right one that you want by noting the arrangement, record label, musicians and singers etc. Otherwise you will find you have got the piece you want but it is a different arrangement.
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