Ali Hassan Kuban
1933, Gotha, Egypt, 25 June 2001, Cairo, Egypt. Born in a small village near Aswan, in the heart of Nubia, Kuban began his musical career whilst still a small child singing on the boats that went across the Nile, from Aswan to Sudan. At the age of seven he moved with his parents to Cairo, Egypt, where he became a member of the Nubian Boy Scouts, who taught him to play a variety of musical instruments, including the clarinet and the tar (a local relative of the bagpipes). In 1949 he performed at the Opera of Cairo. Playing with both a traditional Nubian band and, as a clarinettist, in a production of Aida.
Having paid his dues playing in Nubian folk groups and wedding bands, Kuban formed his own eight-piece group, the first Nubian band to feature a brass section alongside traditional instruments. Whilst retaining strong roots in the traditional rhythms and chants of the Nubian people, Kuban and his band continued to incorporate outside...