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When Mohamed Ghaly's workshop was reduced to rubble in February, he could never imagine that a new cultural center dedicated to an instrument with Pharaonic roots would thrive just months later.Ghaly, a carpenter by trade, is one of the last craftsmen in Egypt keeping the cultural heritage of the instrument alive. It was brought over by Nubian workers who dug the Suez Canal through the Sinai Peninsula.Weeks later, however, Ghaly secured a new venue for El Torathiyah -- a folk arts association that he founded in 2005 dedicated to the instrument.Canal 20, his new incarnation, is a cultural museum standing just a stone's throw away from Port Said's majestic harbor.Its mission is to teach the woodshop craft and pass on the semsemia's musical heritage to a new generation.When British, French and Israeli troops launched an attack in 1956 after then-President Gamal Abdel-Nasser had nationalized the canal, Egyptians wrote nationalistic songs inspired by their defense of the canal.Semsemia players are mostly older men.
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