Nubian music ranges from traditional village songs backed by drums and handclapping to urban sounds reflecting the influence of jazz, funk, trance or even classical music. The one thing that all these forms have in common is that they’re sung in Nubian. While famous abroad thanks to the late masters Ali Hassan Kuban and Hamza al-Din, in Egypt Nubian music isn’t widely popular outside the far south. Nubian CDs and cassettes are sold in Aswan, but contemporary Nubian stars seldom hold public concerts here. As with the jobbing musicians who sometimes play in the Ferial Gardens or the Corniche-side parks at the northern end of town, their main income comes from performing at weddings and other private functions.

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