Songs of the
crescent moon
a film by Sandra Gysi & Ahmed Abdel Mohsen

Macaque in the trees

Sayyed el-Dawwy

Sayyed el-Dawwy (80 years old, village near Qus, Southern Egypt) is a Sira interpreter, the last of those who are capable of performing the entire Sira. That is around five million verses: these make up his whole vocabulary and his entire knowledge. Until the day of today, el-Dawwy has not learned to read or write. He has dedicated his whole life to the Sira and as Sira interpreter he has internalized the rhyme form so completely that he can improvise the stories. El-Dawwy earns his living with the fees he receives for his performances. He appears mainly in the area where he lives. Several times a year he is invited to Cairo or other Arabian countries to perform concerts.
Today he is passing along the family tradition of Sira narration to his grandson.

Macaque in the trees

Ramadan el-Dawwy

Ramadan el-Dawwy (27 years old, village near Qus, Southern Egypt) is the grandson of Sayyed el-Dawwy and prospective Sira interpreter. A few years ago, his grandfather began to teach him the Sira. He is still quite a way from being able to interpret the Sira poetically on his own. From time to time he does perform some of the stories for a close circle of friends. And although his Sira performances are greeted with enthusiasm, at times Ramadan thinks about whether or not he should just play songs at weddings, with which he can earn good money. Sometimes he feels that the responsibility of carrying on the family tradition is a heavy burden. He wonders if narrating the epic in this traditional manner is really appropriate for modern times.

Further protagonists

Abdel Rahman el-Abnoudy is a very well-known Arabic poet and has been researching the Sira for 40 years, organizes traditional Sira performances during the month of Ramadan and considers himself to be a cultural mediator.
Yousry el-Guindy, scriptwriter and director became well known through his trivial soap opera about the Sira stories.
Mohammad Hozayn, politician and landowner in Esna, the south of Egypt, organizes Sira performances in his native city.