Ali Hassan Kuban
Ali Hassan Kuban was born in 1933, in Gotha, Egypt, a small village in the heart of Nubia near Aswan. Kuban began his musical career as 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 and learned 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. While maintaining strong roots in the traditional rhythms and chants of the Nubian people, Kuban and his band continued to incorporate outside elements, such as electric instruments, Cuban rhythms and the music of James Brown. Kuban quickly became a star and cultural icon for Nubians throughout Egypt, playing at wedding parties and religious festivals and selling millions of cassettes. "From Nubia To Cairo" is a collection of some of the original songs previously available only by cassette. As his fame spread beyond the Nubian community he was invited to perform at larger events such as the wedding of President Sadat of Egypt. In the 90´s Kuban made several recordings for the international market and toured outside of Egypt. Known as the Captain of Nubian Music, "he used to operate" up to seven different bands and employed over 60 musicians. It is said that no Nubian wedding party was complete without an appearance by Kuban.
Ali Hassan Kuban died in June 2001 in Cairo just after the release of his last Piranha album "Real Nubian".