Sounds from Egypt

For our honeymoon, my wife and I went to Egypt. I hadn’t been outside of the US much, so this was of course an amazing experience for me. We first went on a Nile cruise, where we pretty much toured ruins every day, Then to Sharm el Sheik, where we pretty much lay on beaches all day. It was pretty awesome. I think the part we enjoyed most was probably the ruins. As wonderful as being in the sun on an inexplicably beautiful beach is, it just doesn’t compare to seeing the temples of Egypt.

We pretty much toured constantly that week. The cruise liner went from town to town and there were up to three optional tours a day. I think we only missed one.

Kom Ombo Temple

Out tour guide was a man named Rabbi (pronounced “Robbie”) of Nubian decent. He was one of the best parts of the trip. He basically took us through the temples and explained the history of them and what the major portions of heiroglyps meant. There was something about the way he did it though that took it beyond what one normally experiences.

Maybe it was his odd, but endearing manner of speaking, his willingness to help you learn, or the way he retold the mythology (I hate that word) of the early Egyptians as if he was there. But, hearing Rabbi talk was something we looked forward to every day.

Rabbi Lecturing 1

I of course being as obsessed with sound as I am, brought a minidisc recorder along, and was happy to, on a few occasions, record Rabbi doing his thing. He even took me to a temple for prayer, (I stayed outside of course) so I could record the sounds coming from the Minorettes.

Listening back to these now, transports my mind even more than our photos (all 400 some of them) to the temples and Rabbi’s story telling.

Rabbi Lecturing 2

Here are a few bits of what I recorded while in Egypt. The first is of course Rabbi. This time, telling us the story of creation from the perspective of the early Egyptians, and explaining the sucession of the kings. The second is from outside the mosque where Rabbi brought me to record the minorettes. As you can hear, they are so close to one another that you can hear another one about two blocks away. The third is intoned prayer from the Hanging Church, which is a Coptic church and the oldest in the area. In this one you can hear our latter tour guide who kinda sucked and whom I remember very little about. (ha) Enjoy!

Rabbi on creation and kings

Duelling minorettes

Intoning at the Hanging Church

And of course with such good source matterial, I had to fool with it. This next track is the intoning slowed down and played backwards with delay and reverse reverb. It sounds pretty evil. I hope you enjoy it.

Satan speaks really slow doesn’t he?



2 Responses to “Sounds from Egypt”

  1. startlingmoniker Says:

    Egypt? I’m SO envious. What’s the sound like inside the actual tombs? Super reflective? Ken Kesey wrote about the sounds of Cairo in one of his essays, it was very interesting. If I still had the book, I’d dig it up for you.

  2. howsthatsound Says:

    the sound in the tombs was pretty reflective. the tombs with long entrance tunnels were interesting b/c of the multiple reverberations for each sound. It was difficult to listen to them, b/c in most cases the tombs were absolutely flooded with people. So between the bodies absorbing the sound and the sound of their chatter masking the reflections, they were difficult to discern. There was far more opportunity for listening to the sounds of rooms in the temples. in some cases the mosques were so close that the sound coming from the minorette bounced around the temple’s rooms in such a way that it was nearly impossible to tell which direction it was coming from.

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