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Photo: Martien Riedel. Courtesy of Piranha Records.

The Godfather of Nubian Soul

Listen to the reissue of Ali Hassan Kuban's 1988 album From Nubia to Cairo.

Ali Hassan Kuban made his name across Egypt, the Arab world and Europe in the 1980s, his music becoming so popular it earned him the moniker, the Godfather of Nubian Soul.

The self-taught musician's career started when he moved from the Upper Egypt to Cairo, "mastered the pentatonic roots repertoire of black Egypt and became one of the most popular wedding musicians up and down the Nile," the label Piranha Records writes.

1988's From Nubia to Cairo, which was originally passed around on two cassettes, is considered one of the first milestones of urban Nubian pop. The seven songs on the album showcase Ali Hassan Kuban's blend of ancient Nubian melodies with more Western influences like jazz and American pop.

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