Will Schube is a wanted man.
No one knows exactly when Ali Hassan Kuban recorded his most seminal tracks, but when Piranha Records eventually released the songs in 1988, they changed the landscape of African music in the Middle East. Kuban is widely regarded in that region as the godfather of Nubian soul, a nickname rightly earned when you listen to the collection of tracks his orchestra recorded in Cairo some time in the ’80s. Now being re-issued by Piranha once again, the face of Afro-Egyptian music is re-emerging emerging for a global audience.
POW is thrilled to premiere “Sukkar, Sukkar, Sukkar,” the album’s first track. The song is a street tour of Egypt’s vibrant Nubian scene, blending traditional instrumentation with electronic sounds—falling more in line with someone like William Onyeabor than the traditional Middle Eastern tones of Kuban’s home. The bandleader and his group take turns with some group chanting before Kuban leads the way solo, his voice nasally in the perfect way.
From Nubia to Cairo has been out of print for many years, but on November 16th Piranha is re-upping on their initial investment. It’s a reminder for those that fell in love with Kuban’s distinctive take on Egyptian music the first time around and a do-over for those that may have missed it. The godfather of Nubian soul is back again, but for the real ones, he never really left.
Pre-order the album here.