ai’yu (ssaattbb)


  • Catalog ID: S-304
  • First Line: ai'yu
  • Composer: Mohamed Abdelfatah
  • Voicing: ssaattbb
  • Solo: tenor
  • Accompaniment: a cappella
  • Language: Arabic
  • Country: Egypt
  • Series: Salamu Aleikum: Music Of The Muslim World
  • Other: 2008.satb
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


The word ai’yu (transliterated here from Arabic) is a term used by the people of Alexandria, Egypt.  A distinctly secular term, ai’yu can take on a number of meanings but is used as a common exclamation of awe, excitement, and wonder.  In this composition, Abdelwahab has taken his native knowledge of traditional Egyptian melody and ornamentation as the basis for new composition.

The recording on the website was performed by The Choir of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City, under the direction of Kent Tritle.  Soloists are Michael Steinberger and Amy Justman.  A complete recording of the piece can be found on the CD: The Four Quarters of Jerusalem (Pro Organo CD 7273).  The portion of the piece used here is from the middle of the piece.