Saturday, February 11, 2006


Feb 10th—Hafla in the Streets of Cairo!

Another exciting day in Cairo! We were so happy and relieved to be in
our new apartment that we slept until 3pm! The place is very
comfortable and I felt at home right away.

We went to breakfast at one of our favorite places where we sat up on a
roof next to a minarette and surrounded by trees, and ate our breakfast
while the sun set.

It’s Friday today so the Moazims really jam out! They sing on and on
and at any given time you hear about 4 different ones coming from
different places all at once – pretty haunting stuff!

Then we walked over to the street with the drum stores and I went in to
talk to Gwaret El Fan. It looks like it will actually work out! I
told him that if he would take care of the shipping, I would take them
all, and he agreed! Then he insisted that I try each one to make sure
they are all to my liking, so I proceeded to try out 25 drums! I got an
audience outside the store – people actually pulled up chairs and took
shisha and tea and sat outside the store listening and clapping!

The drums are GORGEOUS and sound fantastic – I’m very pleased. There
were two that we couldn’t get in tune so he promised to fix them and
let me try them again. I took the one I liked best for myself.
So it looks like I’ll be in the drum selling business when I return.
If anyone wants to reserve one, let me know (first come first served).

Another nice discovery at the Gwaret El Fan store was a rababa made out
of a metal drum. It’s great for the States, because, as those of you
who saw the last Messengers show at the Lafayette Grill witnessed, the
skin ones don’t stay in tune. Rababa girls, if you want one, let me
know and I’ll order some.

So while we were in the Gwaret El Fan store, the finals of the African
Cup were on TV (the TV stand was a dumbek). Everyone in Egypt was
either watching this game or listening on the radio. It was really
exciting because the game was really close, but right at the end Egypt
won. You should have heard and seen what happened in the streets of
Cairo when Egypt won. The whole city was one big hafla. People were
drumming and dancing and lighting gas on fire in the streets!

All the guys in the drum stores want pictures of me and the only ones I
have are the post cards of the naked ones! So I keep apologizing to
everyone and saying, “Here this is ‘haram’ (not allowed) but in my
country it’s ok”. They all look at it disapprovingly but so far only
one guy has given it back. Hassan Amegid, the famous drum maker was
especially disapproving (although he put it up on his shelf) and said
“Do me a favor – before your next photo shoot, please put on some jeans
and a tee shirt!”

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