29.83% voter turnout in 2nd stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections; 'For the Love of Egypt' sweeps electoral lists    Egyptian Export Development Bank's deposits jump 4%    A year's worth of rain in Qatar as floods hit Saudi Arabia    Saudi Arabia approves $100 million loan to Egypt    U.S. Embassy Condemns Terrorist Attack in Al Arish    Putin sends air defence missiles to Syria to deter Turkey    PSG to sport 'JE SUIS PARIS' on shirts for Paris victims    One Russian pilot shot down by Turkey picked up by Syrian Army    Russia may cancel joint projects with Turkey after after Russian jet downed    U.S. leads 23 air strikes against Islamic State: Statement    Manchester City must believe they can win the Champions League-Hart    CIB helps Egypt rebound; Saudi market flat    People who eat more yogurt have smaller waists    wires- Rare, 25-carat pink diamond found among Imelda Marcos collection: Christie's    Live score: Juventus v Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)    Tunisia declares state of emergency amid guard bus explosion    North Sinai attack death toll increases to seven    Pro-Sisi coalition set to take the current parliamentary elections by storm    Oil jumps further after big rally on increased Mideast risk    Asia stocks stumble on geopolitical tensions    Israel's Leviathan signs preliminary Egypt natgas supply deal    Six held in Hungary with weapons or explosives, bomb lab found    ISIS North Sinai affiliate claims responsability for hotel attack    Proverb of the day: Some bad news makes you cry and some makes you laugh همّ يضحّك وهمّ يبكّي    Vatican puts 2 journalists on trial for reporting on leaks    Egyptian film Out on the Street wins best film award at Latin-Arab Int'l Film Festival    Egypt's trailblazer    Tutankhamun unmasked?    Search for Nefertiti in Tutankhamun's tomb to start Thursday    Drastic Drop In Sharm El-Sheikh Tourism After Crash Of Russian Jet    Five injured in fire in famed Chicago skyscraper    Food stocks on the menu for Thanksgiving week    Briefs    Pound gaining ground?    Women and Copts oppose constitutional changes    From salt to sweet    Clerics expected more    Now you're in, now you're out    What a difference three days can make    Tennis, everyone?    Two Egyptians die in Paris attacks    Pre-empting investigations    LECTURES    Art    Nice, moderate weather across Egypt on Thursday    تييري هنري يقود نجوم الكرة حول العالم: صلوا من أجل باريس    Russia needs own investigation into doping allegations: Putin    US, Egyptian, Italian alliances win Maspero Triangle replanning contest    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Cooking up a multicultural musical feast
Published in Daily News Egypt on 14 - 08 - 2007

For nearly an hour-and-a-half of non-stop music, a handful of fortunate guests were treated to the first and only performance of Music Matbakh in Cairo.
The British Council-sponsored band performed last Saturday at the council s headquarters in Agouza.
The concert was the band s second gig in Egypt following a show-stopping performance at the fifth SOS Music Festival last Friday in the North Coast - which was attended by a crowd of 2,000 young men and women.
The Music Matbakh (Music Kitchen) project took nearly four years to see the light of day. Fourteen musicians from Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Britain were assembled under the direction of Justin Adams, Robert Plant s guitarist. They succeeded in merging their distinctive musical skills, backgrounds and techniques into a coherent set of songs, reflecting their diverse cultural and musical heritage as well as the things they have in common.
This hybrid mix of electronica, hip-hop, jazz, Western classical compositions, Arabian folk, funk, reggae, the rich Moroccan desert arrangements and several other musical styles produced an eclectic sound.
Infusing the Western rock sensibilities with the oriental Egyptian and Arabic melodies is a staple formula Egyptian underground/alternative bands and artists have been adhering to until they almost drained it completely of any freshness or potential.
That wasn t the case with Matbakh, whose short-lived collaboration has the potential of reinventing the aforementioned formula. Part of Matbakh s success is attributed to the limitless boundaries and horizons of their music. Not only do they blend the general, well-known musical genres, they also experiment with the indigenous sounds of gnawa, Syrian symphonies and Sufi traditions.
Their lyrics are not focused on the typical love verses or sappy patriotic anthems. These are angry, poetic protest songs accompanied by a lively and entertaining group that put mainstream Egyptian and Lebanese music to shame.
The essence of the band s unique musical approach was quickly put on display with the opening song of the evening that saw Lebanese rapper RGB taking center stage along with Jordanian singer/songwriter Ruba Sakr in a song about occupation.
The band coasted into mystical territory with the second and the third (Lebanese Children) cuts of the set. This was when the intense hooks of RGB stood against the delicate voice of Lebanese singer Asma accompanied with the archetypal chords of Egypt s Ousso s guitar and the tender strings of Ahmed Medhat s violin. The result was a couple of mesmerizing tunes filled with sweet melancholy embedded in pulsing vigor.A classical, instrumental number from keyboard player Andrew McCormack and Syrian ney flute artist Moslem Rahal slowed things a down a notch before Ousso, Medhat and Sakr burst into a fragile, meditative ballad preceded by a lovely solo by the country s best guitar player.
From that point onwards, the music rushed into countless directions and numerous variable levels.
The fierce ballad Arabian Desert burst out of nowhere, with Ousso s shrilling guitar steering the song into a slightly ominous direction, fostered by Sakr s voice and working in contrast to Syrian Issam Rafae s soothing oud and the moody whistling of Rahal.
Moroccan musician and vocalist Hicham Bajjou s shook the stage next through the chorus of Ragab, another rap-driven song featuring a rapid rai-sounding violin from Medhat and a very catchy throbbing from Tunisian percussionist Lotfi Soua, producing the best dance track of the set.
A jamming collection of each performer s signature musical solo lines were showcased during Struggle, which continued to elevate the show into a true sonic frenzy.
After a calm star, the majority of the sundry attendants were shuffling their feet, waving their hands or jumping as high as they could to Highway to Casablanca.
The last song of the concert was the only the most bouncy, brisk and brain-damaging number, it represented the pivotal moment of the project. Elements from the musical genres, backgrounds and skills of the 14 musicians merged in an eccentric, magnificent melting pot.
By the time Medhat introduced his band mates, a heightened sense of genuine fervor and ecstasy was looming beneath the humid air of the city. The utter novelty and aptitude of the performers was overwhelming. The passion they unashamedly wear on their sleeves demands respect and admiration.
The concert was, by far, the most impressive and ambitious performance this reviewer has witnessed in Egypt.

Clic here to read the story from its source.