Sheikh Imam

Sheikh Imam

Musical Artist
Musical Artist Less

Sheikh Imam

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Imam Mohammad Ahmad Eissa or Sheikh Imam () (July 2, 1918 – June 7, 1995) was a famous Egyptian composer and singer. For most of his life, he formed a duo with the famous Egyptian colloquial poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. Together, they were known for their political songs in favor of the poor and the working classes.

Life and career

Imam was born to a poor family in the Egyptian village of Abul Numrus in Giza. He lost his sight when he was a child. At the age of five he joined a recitation class, where he memorized the Qur’an. He later moved to Cairo to study where he led a dervish life. In Cairo, Imam met Sheikh Darwish el-Hareery, a prominent musical figure at that time, who taught him the basics of music and muwashshah singing. He then worked with the Egyptian composer Zakariyya Ahmad. At that time, he expressed interest in Egyptian folk songs especially those by Sayed Darwish and Abdou el-Hamouly. He also performed at weddings and birthdays.

In 1962 he met the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. For many years, they formed a duo composing and singing political songs, mostly in favor of the poor oppressed classes and indicting the ruling classes. Though their songs were banned on Egyptian Radio and Television stations, they were popular among ordinary people in the 1960s and 1970s. Their revolutionary songs criticizing the government after the 1967 war led them to imprisonment and detention several times. In the mid 80s Imam performed several concerts in France,...
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