Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Last Blog of Egypt Trip 2007

Egypt Tour

All the concerts went really well. We didn’t have one show that wasn’t packed and everyone was very excited! I posted footage from some of the shows on You Tube so you can check them out:

Mageneen Part 1
Mageneen Part 2
And here's a clip from me and Fikry at the Cairo Jazz Club:

Here are some photos from them!


The Messengers backstage in Alex!


Drum and Dance Jam after the Concert!

University Student Recital

They did GREAT!


Altogether I’ve been on TV about 8 times so far this trip. Two TV stations showed up to the student show! One of them was the 8:00 news and we watched it the next day!

Other Media

So far there are three newspaper articles out about me and one beautifully done magazine article.

Today I was sitting on the beach in Sinai (yes, again) and the waiter came up to me and showed me another article in the paper about some American girl in Cairo named Raquia Stevens, 28 years old, who plays tabla and rababa and teaches tabla at the University! The article said that after work she goes to play with her Egyptian band. I wonder why I haven’t met her yet we seem to be doing very similar things!

Our show at the Cairo Jazz Club got rave reviews on Nile FM radio station!

My University class is over! Teaching it was such an enjoyable experience, and a number of the students are truly inspired – they plan on forming a drumming band together!

The other news is that I bought 37 beautiful raquy dumbeks – a bunch of 4 peg, several 6 peg and four simbati’s (big ones). Let’s just hope the shipment arrives soon!

We had one last fling in the Sinai desert (this time five days) for INTENSE practicing. That’s all we did besides swim and eat. I’m actually sunburnt on my wrists from practicing in the sun so much! I came up with this gorgeous new roll that sounds like waves crashing!

So now we have three days left in Cairo to wrap everything up and I’ll be back to New York this weekend! Soy Latte, here I come!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Concert in Ewert Hall

My wish came true. We PACKED Ewert Hall – a THOUSAND SEAT HALL!
El Humdelila!

The crowd was amazing. They were cheering the whole time. They adored Said, went crazy for Osama and were very excited about me and the Messengers. They also went wild for Pete’s beatboxing! Pete got to do a duet with Said playing on his mouth at the end of the show. It was amazing.

After all the stress of organizing this concert (and believe me it was VERY stressful at times) I enjoyed myself so much on stage with Said! I was completely relaxed and appreciating the moment!

The messengers did a great job. There was also a dumbek clown who did silly things with the dumbek, and an older man named Arabi Hannun who, it turns out, was Said’s first teacher! The sound was very powerful with thirty drummers.

Said’s Troupe and Messengers waiting for Sound Check

The funny thing is that Said and I both had really bad colds on the day of the show, but during the show we were both fine!

Restoration in the Sinai Desert

We all worked so hard for the concert that we all needed a vacation afterwards, so I rented a private bus for the morning after the concert and the Messengers plus a couple of my university students went to the Sinai Desert for four days! Ahhhhh! That was the closest thing to being in Paradise that I’ve experienced.

We were on the Red Sea in a gorgeous hotel on the beach. The place was totally deserted so we took over the entire beach! We went snorkeling, swam, ate, drank, smoked and mostly PRACTICED! The Sinai desert is the most inspiring place to practice! We all played hours and hours every day!

Every night after sunset the guys from the hotel would make us a bonfire and we would all drum until we went to sleep. It was very hard to leave there last night!

From left to right – Ava, Veronique, Britney, Lex, Vlado, Beat List, Moi, Marjory, Rami, Dominic.

Rami got the Red Sea all to himself!

Egypt Tour this week!

Tonight we are playing at the Cairo Jazz Club. Wednesday we’re playing in Alexandria and Friday in El Minia! We’re traveling everywhere by train. Egyptian trains are really nice and comfortable.

Egyptian Saturday Night Live!

Rami and I were on the Egyptian version of Saturday Night Live! It’s called “Leila Kebira”. Actually we had no idea what it was going to be. We were just told that we would be on Dubai Television.
We came straight from dress rehearsal with Said so I looked really shabby. I wasn’t dressed up at all.
We arrived at the station and the lady from the show looked at me and said, “You’re not going to wear THAT, are you”? so she sent me over to “Hair” and “Makeup”. After spending some time there, I looked like one of those announcers on MTV.

Makeup – YUK!

Then they said “you're on” and we were led into this room full of screaming young people. The set looked just like Saturday Night Live. There was a handsome young movie star type who was the host sitting at a desk and the back drop was the Dubai sky line and there was an awesome band there with a fantastic nai player.

Whenever I’m on TV, there's an issue with how I sit, because I can’t sit on a normal chair and play! But when they are interviewing me it’s good if we are all on the same level, so everybody ends up sitting on the floor! It was hilarious when this fancy host came out behind his desk and joined us on the floor!

So that was my third TV appearance so far this trip, and now Rami and I can’t walk down one block without people recognizing us! Even in the Sinai Desert people were recognizing me from TV!

Upcoming Tour!

Next on the agenda – Tour of Egypt with Raquy and the Messengers – Cairo, Alex and Minia! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


March 4: Egypt Concert Tour!

So it looks like we will have at least five shows in Egypt!
Here’s the schedule so far:

March 1 – March 6th rehearsals with Said
March 7th Concert with Saiid
March 8th 12th Go to Sinai Desert to practice for remainder shows
March 12th show at the Cairo Jazz Club
March 14th show in Alexandria
March 16th show in Minia
March 20th student recital at the university
End of March – possible show at festival near Aswan

Rehearsals with Saiid

Saiid’s troupe is bigger than ever! He has like 20 guys this time! You should hear it when they all come in for Nubian!

There’s one piece that Saiid and Osama and I are playing the solo part. I must admit, playing that piece with the two of them and the whole troupe is one of the funnest things I’ve ever done!

I was nervous about having the Messengers play for Saiid, because he is very picky! The messengers that are here so far are Marjorie, Veronique, Ava (from LA), Pete List and Dominic (from Canada). They worked so hard learning Yimkis Asess! We rented a falouka on the Nile for 2 hours and practiced a lot. Anyway, we played the piece for Said and he LOVED it! And get this – in the solo part, I’m having his whole troupe come in and hold Maksum for the Messengers!

He’s making all the guys wear suits with pink ties. I’m glad about the ties because they match my outfit!

Television Appearances

So far I had an interview and played on Nile Satellite TV, and Rami and I made an appearance on Good Morning Egypt. Later that day, everywhere I went people recognized me! The interview was ALL in Arabic. I did ok with the first several questions, but when they got a little more philosophical, like, “what’s the difference between pop music and your music” and stuff like that, I started sounding like an idiot. When it got to the point that I started speaking Hebrew by mistake, they said, “you know what, why don’t you just play another song” so thank god we just played another piece and that was the end of it.

Tomorrow some people from Dubai television are coming to the dress rehearsal to pick us up for another thing, and they also want to do an article about me in Egypt Today.

My Mother in Egypt!

My mother was cold in New York so she came to Egypt to visit me for the first time!

My mother’s first rababa lesson

She was only here for a week, but we managed to do lots of stuff.

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