Saturday, March 01, 2008
Reunion with Said
Tonight we hung out with Said El Artist for the first time this year. He looked great and it was wonderful to see him. We brought him as a gift a Remo ocean drum and I think he really liked it. Within 5 minutes he figured out every possible sound you could get out of that thing!
We both talked enthusiastically about doing a big show again next year, ein shalla. We listened to his latest album which is great and then he took out a stack of incredible professional pictures taken of the rehearsals and the concert last year! My favorite was of me, Said and Osama blowing out the candles of a cake. I wish I had copies!
Midnight Poi Contest on the Streets of Cairo
We were walking around Cairo last night looking for a place where I could practice spinning my glow balls, and we turn down this ally and what do I see---- another fire spinner! I was like “what? I didn’t know that this was popular in Egypt” but when I took a closer look I saw that it was the boy from the ahawa (shisha café), spinning the coals for the nargilas! It looks just like fire spinning! So I took out my poi and we stood face to face showing each other our moves.
Mom VisitMy mom came to visit! But she arrived with horrible flu and was in bed for a week! She had to extend her trip from five days to eleven days because she was so sick to travel! So we stayed home most of the time. I tried to bring Egypt to her while she was on the couch by having many people over such as my student for the free class, my Egyptian drumming troupe for rehearsals, my rababa teacher Ustaz Fikry el Ganawy who wanted to marry her and some of our dear Nubain friends who sat around the couch teaching her the Nubian language. El humdelila towards the end of her trip she recovered and had a few nice days of being healthy in Cairo.
Concert DatesI just found out I’m playing at the Alexandria Library on March 22nd!
And the two big Cairo show dates are set! One is March 19th in Ewart Hall which was already booked last year. Then one week later on March 25th we are playing at the Sawy Cultural Center! I decided to have the Egyptian Messengers (my class) perform as an opening act and they are all excited to be playing in a real venue, not just at school.Last week I went over to Sawy and was very pleased to be able to read and fill out the contract all in Arabic!!
Rehearsal UpdateThe second rehearsal was challenging. I decided to have this rehearsal at my house since my mom was still on the couch, feverous and semi- delirious. One of the guys was late and one had to leave early, so we were very rushed. And when everyone finally arrived for the rehearsal we realized that there was another funeral going on downstairs at the Nubian men’s club (there’s a funeral there like every other day) so we couldn’t play!
One of the guys had an idea to call Makan, a gorgeous performance space around the corner that kind of looks like my living room – a beautiful room that’s empty except for carpets, pillows and drums. And the vibe there is so fine from all the Zaar trance ceremonies that happen there! This venue which usually has concerts booked every night happened to be totally free for our rehearsal! Yay!
So we bundled up my mother and caravanned over to Makan where she lay down on some pillows while we rehearsed. This rehearsal was tough because I was showing them a new piece called Maracatu which is based on Brazillian style beats and there’s some tricky stuff. We worked on this one small section for like 45 minutes. So I was feeling frustrated at the end of the rehearsal.
But then I worked with some of the guys individually, so the third rehearsal was great! We ran Maksum Madness, Maracatu and Newbian all through straight without stopping! And those are the three toughest pieces! I have Mustafa Abbas playing a bass drum with his foot, a simbati on his lap and a crash cymbal, kind of like what Fishky does!
What to Wear?My guys here made it clear to me that they will wear neither a skirt with no shirt and makeup nor a loin cloth on stage, so that leaves me wondering, what should I have them wear for the shows? Any ideas?