Sunday, February 12, 2006
Cairo February 12
Today we made some good headway organizing a show outside of Cairo.
For those of you who don’t know, I got a grant from the American Embassy in Egypt to do a concert, but it can’t be in Cairo, Alex or any tourist place.
Today we went to the American Embassy in Cairo and met with the people in the Cultural Affairs Department who offered me the grant. They explained to me the nature of this grant. I’m an American who plays an instrument that is beloved to the Egyptian people. Therefore it would behoove American popularity if I were to go outside of Cairo into the heart of Egypt to perform for the country folk. The difficult thing is that the people from the Embassy won’t help AT ALL with organizing the event. I have to do everything myself.
At the actual meeting, they were a bit more helpful in spite of themselves. I explained the difficulty in finding a venue outside of Cairo and they brainstormed a little and came up with some names and phone numbers that could be useful.
The best lead so far is a new performance venue in a southern city called Minia. We talked to the guy today and he seems very interested. If it works out we’ll take the girls down there on the train and do a concert. It should be an adventure!
We also talked to this guy Fati Salama who is a well-known musician here. He’s putting together a show the day after tomorrow with like 8 different bands, and Rami and I might play in it. We’ll probably hang out with him tonight.
Yesterday I had a reunion with Fikry, my rababa teacher. We had a wonderful lesson – he taught me five new songs, all of which I like a lot!
We also looked into flights to Tel Aviv. They are pretty expensive ($320!) so then we checked buses. For $85 you get a bus ticket direct from Cairo to Tel Aviv and back. It’s a 10 hour ride, but if you think about getting to the airport 2 hours early and getting to and from the airports in both cities, flying wouldn’t save us that much time, and there’s something I like about the idea of going from Cairo to Tel Aviv over land. Like the Exodus, but 10 hours instead of 40 years! We’ll see.