Grateful Dead

Rare Tracks on Anniversary of Return from Egypt

By David Lemieux

In September, 1978, musical worlds collided when renowned Egyptian oud player Hamza El Din, along with the Nubian Youth Choir, joined the Grateful Dead onstage during all three concerts they performed at the foot of the Pyramids of Egypt. The collaboration resulted in the hypnotic, polyrhythmic tune “Ollin Arageed,” written by Hamza himself. It was a true meeting of two completely divergent, yet totally complementary, musical styles. After the Egypt concerts, the Dead returned to America as triumphant, world-travelling heroes, and at the final two of their five night return engagement at Winterland, Hamza joined the band onstage to introduce the song to the American masses. Over the next seven years, Hamza would perform “Ollin Arageed” with the Grateful Dead live four more times, with the final collaboration in March, 1985.

Fast forward to 2004. We were searching through the vault for bonus material to feature on the reissue of “Shakedown Street” to be included in the Beyond Description boxed set, when we came across a studio session reel with a remarkable item at the end of it. It was a rehearsal recorded on August 11, 1978 at the Grateful Dead's Front Street studio, featuring Hamza on oud, Mickey Hart on the tar, and Jerry Garcia on acoustic guitar. They were working out the arrangement for Ollin Arageed. In addition to a good, short version of the tune, they also proceeded to play an interesting, Middle Eastern-inspired song. And now, for the first time, those recordings are available to Dead Heads. It is truly our pleasure to be able to share these two studio rehearsal tracks with you in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the “From Egypt With Love” concerts.

Listen to all the tracks

Track 1

Track 2


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Joined: Jun 4 2007

'twould be swell if these cool linky poos worked again...time precious time precious time

Joined: Dec 18 2009
12 30 1978

i have the second set to this show with hamza el din incredible and listen to it often was at pauley pavilion ucla.

Joined: Nov 8 2008
78 at Red Rocks

I was going to go, but had to work at Storage Tech. You remember - Greg? There were three shows.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
The Water Wheel

Jackadiamonds beat me to it. The second track is indeed the title track from Hamza El-Din's CD "The Water Wheel," where it is performed solo by Hamza on oud. It is available on CD on the Nonesuch label as part of their "Explorer Series." The CD # is 79702-2. If you like Hamza's stuff, this CD is a must-have.

Sean K.

Joined: Jul 21 2007

I agree this should have been on the discbut should definetly be available for download. This is cool, etherial stuff. Thanks I love it

orcasgordy's picture
Joined: Jun 23 2007
Streamed up and pissed

"Don't you push me, baby, 'cause I'm moanin' low."

Once again I'm hosed. I'm one of those pesky rural Deadheads who CANNOT get high speed Internet, so, consequently, can't listen to streaming anything, let alone these tracks which I really wanted to hear, having just purchased the album/CD/DVD or whatever the fuck we're calling the music these days. How about cutting us a huss and making it available for download? I can't see why anyone would be upset about that, being that you're not issuing the music anyway, right? Thanks for the present I can't open..........ever. Skypilot Gordy

Joined: Feb 5 2008
Hamza El-Din rehersal tracks for Egypt gig

It's great to hear these little gems of music shining brightly through the years!
For those of you who wished that the second track never ended, you should check-out "Water Wheel" by Hamza El-Din on the Nonsuch label. I've got it on vynil - I don'y know if it's available on CD. A further record of his is "Eclipse" on the Pacific Arts label. I think this is available on CD. This one has Olin Agareed on it. There is quite a bit of Hamza on YouTube as well.
He opened for the Dead on nights one and three, and played in the middle of the show on night two as I recall. At one point he was singing and playing the oud to a setting of his of one of the prayer-hymns from the Egyptian Book of the Dead (The Book of the Coming Forth by Day). Fantastic
If all his sets were recorded, along with his and Micky's (and then one by one the rest of the Dead) oOin Agareed's, I would certainly buy the whole shebang!
Keep on keeping on

Joined: Jun 24 2007
Rehearsal Tracks

Thanks for the special treat, it's always a surprise when such rare tracks are found and shared for all to enjoy, Thanks again and keep these rare tracks coming!

geo's picture
Joined: Jun 14 2007

Just great. Thank you. :)

CORNSMOKE's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007

...what a nice treat just dont want track2 to end. :-)


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