In an upstairs apartment in the old Cairo district of Sayyida Zeinab, the last rango player in Egypt is invoking a murderous spirit. Hassan Bergamon, a gravely-voiced 60-year-old, wearing an embroidered prayer cap, is singing in a mixture of Arabic and a lost Sudanese tribal language called Rotana: “Yawra Bey, oh master, oh play with your sword my prince.”
Around him whirl percussionists playing goatskin drums, a metal block that looks like a stray piece of steel girder, and shakers made from recycled aerosol cans. One wears a mangor—a shaker-belt covered in hundreds of sundried goats’ hooves. The group’s official…
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