The scion of a family of artisans, Ahmad Wahdan became a full-fledged musician when he was accepted among the professionals of Cairo’s Mohamed-Ali Avenue. As the owner of a dedicated chair “chair owner” in one of the cafés of this key location in the Egyptian music scene, he began to extend his activities throughout the city, plying his trade - deeply embedded practice - in the streets of Cairo, where Ahmad has worked the full range of both musical and social urban stages for nearly forty years. The geography of his movements is driven by forces such as a quest for recognition, hierarchical processes, and the patient cultivation of statuses and roles. Beyond the question of musical skill, his profession requires multiplying contacts as well as an aptitude for circulating among highly diverse urban and social spheres. The tension between social and artistic competence is complicated by the additional, endless need of participating in collective negotiations about one’s position, deliberations concerning music, and the logics of categorization. Ahmad’s life story also contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms that unite elements from seemingly disparate cultural spheres. Ultimately, it offers a delicate prism through which we can glimpse the contours of the singular set of circumstances that frame the temporality of a single artist’s life.