Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Saiidi Street Wedding!

Ok –now this night was something I’ll never forget. My Rababa teacher’s cousin was marrying one of his other cousins and he invited us to the wedding. It was in a neighborhood called “Ataba” which is a lot different from “Garden City”,the ritzy neighborhood we live in.

We got out of the cab and Fikry was there, decked out in his traditional Saiidi outfit, complete with cane and all. It was great to see him in his “hood”. He is like the king there. As we walked towards the wedding he proudly pointed out all the things he loved about his neighborhood – his house, his neighbors and the beautiful sook (market) that we walked through.

The wedding party was outdoors on an unpaved street with a stage. There were lights everywhere, a sound system, and everything on the stage was simultaneously showed on tv screens farther from the stage. As we approached, we heard on the loud speaker “welcome fikry wl ganawy and his friends from America” and we saw ourselves on tv.

We were seated at a table with the ‘creme de la creme’ of the wedding. Most of the guests were musicians, and all the celebrities who arrived were ushered straight to our table. They kept bringing out these plates of kababs and on the trays were coals covered in meat fat so that it would make lots of meaty smoke. And these guys were partying! I don’t think I’ve been hanging out with people getting so wasted since I was in college.

Periodically groups of curious kids would gather around to shake our hands only to be shooed away by the adults. The kids had a game of sneaking up and stealing kababs from the adult’s table. When this happened the adults pretended to be outraged, but as soon as the kids disappeared they would laugh.

The band was amazing, especially the percussion section – two dafs (frame drums) a muzzhar, and a few tablas – extremely coordinated and tight. Certain of the celebrity guests were invited up to sing. There were also two AMAZING belly dancers on stage.

The women were all in a different section than the men and at one point Fikry brought me over to dance with the bride. That was really fun! Those girls were getting down!

Later on, he brought me to the stage and announced that I would play one drum solo and one song on the rababa! They handed me horrible out of tune tabla and set me up with a mic. I looked at the other drummers and said, ”Yimsik Asess” (hold me the rhythm) and they did an amazing job of accompanying me on my drum solo. They got all my cues – it was as if we had rehearsed!

The funnest part was playing “Wahiishni Rod Aleya” on the rababa! The full band accompanied me and everyone in the crowd was singing along! What a thrill! Fikry just stood there and beamed the whole time. He didn’t want to play along because he wanted everyone to hear that I could play it by myself.

That may just have been the best party I’ve ever attended!

The other news is that we’re going to be on a TV show called “Sabah Al Khiir, Missr” (Good Morning, Egypt) a day before our concert at Sawy in order to advertise it!

Poster is Cairo! They white-ed out my belly from the picture!

Also we found a huge four bedroom luxury apartment on the Nile for the girls (Andrea, Maria, Bashira, Amy, Marjory and Natalia), who are all arriving in the upcoming days.


Great pictures. Great descriptions. I wish I had been there.
Hey Raquy!

So you're the girl in white under the bridge! I drove past your ad two days ago and thought something interesting was up...not so many female musicians out and about in these parts! I hope to come and see you perform either today at Sawi or at the Jazz club...I am also a musician and can check out my stuff on If you will be here on March 21st I will be playing at Sawi centre too!
Tamara x
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