Katy (1958) كيتي

This is dancer/actress Katy (كيتي aka Keti, Kitty, Katie etc) performing in a scene from the 1951 Egyptian musical ‘Leilet al Henna’ (ليلة الحنة Henna Night ). The film starred Shadia, Kamal al Shinnawi, Mary Munib, Fardous Mohamed and Seraj Mounir. The film was directed by Anwar Wajdi. Katy was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to a Greek father and Egyptian mother. She acted and danced in many Egyptian movies from the 1950s through to the mid-1960s but returned to Athens in 1965 after being implicated in a spy plot which apparently involved Egyptian/Israeli double agent Refaat el Gammal رأفت الهجّان known as Refaat al Hagan in Egypt and Jack Beton in Israel. Katy appeared in at least two Greek language films following her return to Greece. She also speaks Greek in one of her earlier Egyptian films where she plays the daughter of the local Greek barber.  Just as a bit of background, Refaat al Gammal loved acting and appeared in small roles in several Egyptian movies.
‘Leilet al Henna’ (henna night) is a female only gathering which takes place one or two days before the actual celebration of the marriage. On the henna night the bride and her friends gather, a henna artist comes to the house, and the henna designs are applied. The choice of designs can be very intricate. Henna always looks better the following day once the design has ‘set’ and the dried off henna has been removed.  I usually rub olive oil on to seal the design, I don’t know if that makes a difference or not though 🙂
Trivia: The director of this film, famous actor Anwar Wajdi, married and divorced singer/actress Leila Murad on three separate occasions. His other wives were Elham Hussein and actress Leila Fawzy.

Nagwa Fouad (1969) فؤاد نجوى

This is dancer and actress Nagwa Fouad performing in a further scene (there’s an earlier scene posted below) from the 1969 Egyptian film ‘Seraa al Mohtarefin’ (‘Battle of the Professionals’ or ‘Professional Conflict’ صراع المحترفين). The film starred Rushdi Abaza, Naglaa Fathi and Kawthar Shafik.
Trivia: The star of this film, Rushdi Abaza, was married to dancer Tahiya Karioka and later to married to Samia Gamal. His 1977 marriage to Lebanese singer Sabah lasted less than a week as he was still married to Samia Gamal at the time.

Drummer Setrak Sarkissian

Lebanese-Armenian drummer Setrak Sarkissian is a legend in Arabic music. Born in Beirut, Lebanon and still resident there, Setrak had to overcome family resistance to have a career in music.  When he was young, his family even went so far as to break his drum!
Setrak has played tabla for many of the most famous singers and bellydancers in the Middle East including singers Warda, Sabah and Samira Tawfik and bellydancers Taheya Karioka, Nadia Gamal and Ranine plus so many others. This clip is a rarity as it showcases Setrak himself. Many Western dancers would know Setrak from his music cds and if you’re a bellydancer you’ve probably, knowingly or not, danced to Setrak’s music..
In 2009 Setrak was awarded the St. Mesrob Mashtots medal by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia.
In case you’re interested, the medal Setrak received is named after St. Mesrob Mashtots who’s credited with having invented the Armenian alphabet.