"The purpose of the taqsim is to set a meditative mood. Its sound is so distinctive and its association with the mystical state so firm, that it invariably stills the audience, quiets conversation and spreads a pensive atmosphere.”
E.H. Waugh - Sufi Singers: The Munshidin of Egypt
Taqsim (s.) taqasim (pl.) - (n.) (Arabic), a short solo piece for an instrument (mus.), generally improvisational and according to a particular maqam, or note progression. From the root qasama: 1. to divide, distribute, share 2. to exorcise a devil or demon 3. to take an oath, swear.
Qamar - (n.) (Arabic), the moon.
The album was recorded in Cairo, Egypt and features Henkesh family members Sayed, Khamis, Reda and Karim accompanied by their musical group. The CD includes a 36 page color booklet about what is a taqsim, Arabic music in general, the instruments used, their history, musical groups in Egypt, how to perform a taqsim if you are a Middle Eastern dancer, translations and transliterations of all the lyrics and biographies of Om Kalthoum and Farid al-Atrash.
A song may contain several tracks since each taqsim is mastered individually within the body of the song (for dancers). It is better to listen to the whole album once through, before track jumping, to appreciate the flow of the music.
The Henkesh Brothers
The Henkesh brothers were born and raised on Mohammad Ali Street in Cairo, sons of “Rayes” (Master) Henkesh, the famous wedding band leader during Cairo's Golden Days. The eldest, Sayed, plays the accordion like his father, and has helped produce this album. The second son, Khamis, started his musical journey early, at age five, like many little boys, by playing the bongos. But when his talent became apparent he switched to the tabla. Soon after he began playing with his father's band. Rapidly well known artists of the time, such as dancer Tahia Carioca, comedian Mahmoud Shekoukou and singer Shafiq Galal, took notice of this unusual young man and began to showcase his music.
When Khamis joined the band of singer Ahmed Adawaya his musical career took off. He was offered a contract with one of Egypt's largest music production companies to record studio sessions. He can be heard accompanying many of Egypt's most well known artists, such as Hany Shaker - Ahmad A3daweya - Amr Fathy - Mohammad Mounir - Mohammad Fou’ad – Amr Diab – Ali El Haggar – Mohammad El Helw – Nagaat El Sagheer – So3aad Mohammad – Badara El Sayed – Samira Sa3eed – Fatma Eid – Layla Ghofran – Nagah Salaam – Sabaah – Fahd Balan – Shereen Wagdy – Kazem El Saher – Nadia Mustafa.
Khamis has played on numerous scores for Egyptian television shows and movies and has often been interviewed on Arabic satellite channels. He has participated in many festivals around the region and regularly performs solos for the opera with Dr. Gamal Salama, Mr. Yehia Khaleel and Mr. Magdy El Husseini.
Khamis presently performs in Cairo with his orchestra The Hanekeesh and runs the family musical instrument store on Mohammed Ali Street.