“كل محافظة ليها حكاية وكل حكاية ليها مزيكا .. البلد مليانة مزيكا”
اوسو لطفي مستشار الجام هورية ومستكشف الموسيقيين المحليين في محافظات مصر
:اسمع مزيكا حكايات 2017 من هنا
“كل محافظة ليها حكاية وكل حكاية ليها مزيكا .. البلد مليانة مزيكا”
اوسو لطفي مستشار الجام هورية ومستكشف الموسيقيين المحليين في محافظات مصر
:اسمع مزيكا حكايات 2017 من هنا
Von Cornelia Wegerhoff
In der arabischen Welt fehlt es an guten Lehrern für das Erlernen von Musikinstrumenten. Die Website „Ewsal Bel3araby“ bietet nun kostenlosen Unterricht. Der Initiator, ein ägyptischer Gitarrist, ließ dafür seine Kontakte spielen.
Für Mo`men Hassan ist ein Traum in Erfüllung gegangen. Der Bassist spielt als professioneller Musiker in mehreren ägyptischen Bands. Das Lieblingsgenre des 24-Jährigen ist Progressive Rock, aber auch Oriental Fusion gehören zu seinem Repertoire.
Mo`men Hassan kommt aus Alexandria. Nach Kairo ist das Ägyptens zweitgrößte Stadt mit mehr als acht Millionen Einwohnern, also etwa so viele wie in London. Aber musikalisch fühlte sich Mo`men anfangs trotzdem ziemlich einsam:
„Ich habe 2013 angefangen, Bassgitarre zu spielen. Aber in Alexandria haben wir dafür keine Lehrer. Es gibt überhaupt nur zwei oder drei Leute, die das Instrument spielen, aber sie unterrichten nicht. Ich hab ein bisschen auf Youtube rumgeschaut. Aber da habe ich auch nicht so richtig das gefunden, was ich gesucht habe. Erst nach einem Jahr habe ich dann die Website entdeckt. Das hat alles verändert.“
Die Website heißt Ewsal Bel3araby, das bedeutet „Erreiche dein Ziel auf Arabisch“. Seit zwei Jahren werden hier nicht nur kostenlos Bassgitarren-Stunden angeboten, sondern auch Noten- und Harmonielehre und Lektionen für 14 weitere Instrumente: Violine, Oud, Keyboard, Schlagzeug und viele mehr.
„Wenn Du Ewsal Bel3arabi anklickst, wirst Du eine Menge über Musik erfahren“, verspricht der Online-Coach im Tutorial. „Lass uns schauen, was es alles gibt“, lädt er die Nachwuchsmusiker vor dem Bildschirm ein. Damit ist der Traum von Ousso wahr geworden.
Der 40-Jährige ist ebenfalls Bassgitarrist, aber schon seit mehr als 20 Jahren einer der erfolgreichsten in Ägypten. Ousso ist außerdem Musikproduzent und der Initiator von „Ewsal Bel3araby“. Er sagt:
„Dieses Projekt wurde im August 2016 eingeführt. Aber die Idee hatte ich schon seit 2009. Da habe ich ein Festival organisiert und bin durch die unterschiedlichen Regionen von Ägypten getourt. Dabei traf ich eine Reihe wirklich großartiger Musiker, die aber keine Chance hatten, sich weiterzuentwickeln, weil sie kein Englisch sprechen. In den Bezirken fehlt es außerdem überall an Musiklehrern. Also habe ich mir überlegt, online etwas auf Arabisch anzubieten und umsonst.“
Doch mittlerweile sind zu den unterschiedlichsten Instrumenten mehr als 1400 Videos abrufbar. Ousso hat dafür persönlich quer durch die gesamte ägyptische Musikszene telefoniert:
„Ich habe alle berühmten Instrumentalisten bekommen. Das sind die, die in den bekannten großen ägyptischen Bands spielen und auch mit einigen der älteren Popstars. Wenn ich die Leute nicht alle gekannt hätte, hätten die alle ordentlich Honorar für eine Session von mir verlangt. Aber die meisten haben gar kein Geld dafür genommen.“
Auch Hany El Badry ist so unverhofft zum Online-Coach geworden. Er ist ein Virtuose auf der Nay, der orientalischen Flöte.
An eine spezielle Lehrmethode müssen sich die Musiker in ihren Videos nicht halten, sagt Ousso, der selbst am Musikcollege von Berklee in den USA studiert hat. Jeder Künstler habe seine ganz eigene Art, sein Instrument und seine Spieltechnik zu erläutern. Aber auf der Website gebe es Empfehlungen, in welcher Reihenfolge, die Videos gesehen werden sollen.
Ousso bespricht mit Rofaida Rady, der Managerin seiner Produktionsfirma, die täglichen E-Mails. Fast 6000 Nutzer sind derzeit bei „Ewsal Bel3araby“ registriert. Doch E-Mails kommen aus der ganzen Welt. Besonders talentierte Online-Musikschüler werden regelmäßig zu Workshops nach Kairo eingeladen. Rofaida prüft die aktuelle Bewerberliste:
„Sie bewerben sich mit einem Solo und wir suchen die größten Talente heraus. Sie kommen dann sechs Monate lang jedes Wochenende zu uns nach Kairo, zu Workshops und Einzelunterricht mit ihren Lehrern. Wir finanzieren das mit Hilfe von Sponsoring. Unterricht und Unterkunft sind umsonst. Die Teilnehmer müssen dafür nichts bezahlen.“
Auch Mo`men Hassan aus Alexandria war in einer dieser Talentschmieden. Mit den Musikern, die er zuerst nur aus dem Internet kannte, ist er inzwischen befreundet. Statt auf verlorenem Posten steht Mo`men nun mit seiner Bassgitarre auf der Bühne: „Ich bin froh, dass ich heute hier bin.“
By Tucker Mcgee
Dec. 24, 2017
Ousso Lotfy is not only the Middle East’s biggest guitarist, a member of Nagham Masry, HOH and Eftekasat, and the man behind the legendary SOS music festival, but now he is on a mission to educate and musically invigorate Egypt’s youth through his Ewsal Bel3araby and El Sellem Projects.
Walking into Ousso Lotfy’s extensive but homey studio, it quickly became evident that he is no ordinary guitarist. Yet Ousso’s personality does not bely the level of success he has achieved; he is gracious, humble and warm.
Ousso Lotfy is perhaps the most in demand guitarist in the Middle East. Though currently playing or having played with the biggest pop stars in the region (after our interview he hopped on a plane to Dubai to play a show with Angham), this is not where his heart lies: he has been integral in building the Egyptian music scene since the mid ‘90s, is the cofounder of bands Nagham Masry and HOH, and a member of Eftekasat.
Ousso Lotfy is not only perhaps the Middle East’s most in demand guitarist, but he is an educator and entrepreneur with a huge heart, that since the beginning of his career until now, has been putting everything into growing the music scene in Egypt. In the past it was SOS music festival, and now it is his online education platform, Ewsal Bel3araby – اوصل بالعربي…and it doesn’t stop there. It was inspiring to sit with Ousso and hear him muse on his passions past, future and present.Read more: http://scenenoise.com/Interviews/ousso-lotfy-egypts-musical-caretakerVideo by MO4 Network
Posted by Scene Noise on Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Beyond being a guitarist, Ousso is also a composer, producer and sound engineer. He did his masters at Berklee College of Music in Valencia where he collaborated with musicians the likes of Victor Wooten, and spent a summer teaching guitar there. Additionally, Ousso was the orchestrator of the breakthrough underground festival in Egypt, Save Our Sound (SOS), which gave hundreds of upcoming artists a platform to perform in front of audiences of thousands. Though this ended, it gave birth to another project of Ousso’s.
Ewsal Bel3araby is a phenomenal online educational platform providing a huge variety of lessons from Egypt’s master musicians, the “mafia” as he calls them. Additionally, there are videos of these musicians jamming together, along with venue and event listings, artist profiles and more. The other side of this project is El Sellem, in which Ousso selects young artists from each of Cairo’s governorates and brings them to study with teachers in Cairo on a bi-weekly basis, free of charge, in an attempt to cultivate a professional and inspired network of musicians around the country. This project is unprecedented in Egypt and the scope is monumental; leave it to Ousso to bring something like this to fruition – the second student graduation show of the El Sellem program just took place.
As we sat with Ousso in his studio and talked with him about this impressive list of projects, it became obvious that his dedication to his vision of a musical Egypt runs deep. Recently, he worked with the RBMA Jamhoureya project to facilitate collaboration between four Cairene electronic producers and traditional musicians around Egypt. So much more than a musician, Ousso is an entrepreneur, and his sincere zeal and attentiveness to the musical vitality of Egypt’s youth is tremendously inspiring. It is without doubt that the music scene in Egypt would not be where it is without Ousso’s passion.
Photo credit: Mohab Abdeen – MO4 Network
Dec. 09, 2017
Ousso Lotfy’s amazing El Sellem project from his education platform Ewsal Bel3araby brings kids from various governorates of Egypt to Cairo on a bimonthly basis to study with master musicians. This was the second graduation show of the group. Experimental oud player Bal Qeis followed up.
By Mohamed Rashad
Aug. 10, 2017
We here at Scoop Empire are starting #AScoopOfSuccess, a series of interviews with successful Arabs that are kicking ass and making names on a regional, as well as international level in different fields. And since I’m really passionate about music, I thought it would be best to start with one of the region’s most leading icons in that field.
Thus, the first interview as you might have already guessed is with the pioneering artist; Ousso.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea who I’m talking about, let me enlighten you. He is one of the most talented and hardworking guitarists in the Middle East. His success spans in the independent and mainstream music scenes, as well as entrepreneurial and academic fields.
Ousso has immensely contributed and influenced the music industry in the region and helped so many struggling artists develop a career out of their unheard talents. If you’d like to know more about him — which you should definitely do — before reading the interview, head to his website.
The underground music scene is no longer underground, it’s more accurate to label it as the independent music scene. What I enjoy working with more is, of course, the independent scene. But to be honest, you learn way more from the mainstream scene. Artists from the mainstream scene are beasts.
You learn how to manage yourself as an artist from someone like Amr Diab, learn how your charisma can influence a 100,000 audience while performing alongside Mohamed Mounir.
Practicing and improvising in large studios and performing in front of thousands of people was more accessible through the mainstream scene, before the underground scene started booming. Also, back in the days, we’d invest in our indie bands from the money we earned from the mainstream — that happened due to the fact that the profits of indie music were close to zero.
Nowadays, independent artists could be labeled as neo-mainstream (commercials and brands sponsorship, etc), and there’s nothing shameful about that because each artist deserves to earn a living from their talent.
Nagham Masry is hands down my favorite project of all time. This Jazz/Rock fusion band with poetic lyrics is the project I’ve developed as an artist and will always be proud of.
There was also a project called Music Matbakh that was created by the British Council; where they chose two musicians from seven countries and created a band of 15 musicians. It was a fun experience as musicians from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and UK cooperated to create this one of a kind music fusion. This project did a tour in all of the mentioned countries and performed in SOS while in Egypt.
Last but not least, HOH has a special place in my heart as well, as this project was literally just an outing between me, Hany Adel (West el Balad) and Hani El Dakkak (Massar Egbari) which we turned into a band.
Definitely something related to airplanes like military aviator, or car racing. I’ve been passionate about those two things ever since I was a young kid. I’ve even tried taking gliding courses once.
I was in a total shock when that happened. The scene in the early ’90s was amazing on so many levels, and it all fell apart because an unethical reporter at Rosalyoussef decided to fabricate an article to boost the company’s sales. At that time, there were no social media platforms to explain to people the reality that got fabricated by his article; so people actually believed that the metal scene revolved around Satanism.
It was a total mess, a lot of my friends got arrested and everyone started cutting their hair. I was just totally depressed. However, that incident affected my development as a musician in a very huge way. The owner of the studio that I used to jam in, Nasser Begato, started convincing me to start working and connected me to Samira Saeid’s band, one day before her performance in “Layaly El Television“.
I just participated in one jamming session before the gig, and I was ready. It was because of that concert that I started having a lot of connections that helped me work in the mainstream music field.
Back in the day, I was the only guitarist who dabbled in the arts of independent and mainstream scenes at the same time. I was the first guitarist to re-introduce the fast solos and distortion in the mainstream music scene after it was banned during the demonization of the metal scene.
It all started with a solo in Amr Diab’s Khaliny Gambak. The solo was released in his album as an instrumental track which was a phenomena that never happened to a Diab album before. With El Hadaba being the role model that he is to most artists in his scene, naturally, the whole scene approached me for similar solos.
In a different manner, I started a company with Amr Diab’s former manager that also helped to bridge that gap. What it did was basically recruit independent artists to perform alongside mainstream artists to help them profit from their talents.
Afterwards, I decided to severe my ties with mainstream music in order to focus all my energy to push the indie scene forward; thus creating the SOS music festival. Me and my team helped organize 19 SOS festivals between September 2006 and December 2009.
In simple terms, SOS is a music festival for independent artists playing original music, and Ewsal Bel 3araby is a platform for independent Arabic music. At a certain time, SOS influenced a lot of people who are passionate about music to start playing, that was because every artist that was capable of playing 30 minutes of original music would perform in SOS. Some attended the first SOS as listeners, and ended up being performers afterwards.
As time passed, the quality sadly started to drop as musicians couldn’t profit much more from indie music. A lot of good bands broke up because their members graduated and needed to start a safercareer. Thus, Ewsal Bel 3araby came to fix the limitations we found in SOS. It basically tries to create a networking platform for musicians, and the project adopted by Ewsal Bel 3araby (El Sellem) tries to adopt musical talents from different governorates of Egypt; it gives them workshops and helps them start a career out of their talents. Something this country and region desperately needs.
“Crazy” stories in Spain aren’t media-friendly, but I’ll try to remember the most PG-13 one. I was asked to teach a guitar course on the same day I graduated by Victor Mendoza, the program director of our college. The same program director also asked me to do a solo performance as an opening to Diego El Cigala; one of Spain’s most popular flamenco singers.
I only see myself as an artist. But as you know artists in Egypt need to be entrepreneurs to manage themselves. “Not enough venues; let’s organize a festival” attitude. Everyone in the indie scene should work together to elevate the whole industry, and that’s the initiative I took.
Firstly, I wouldn’t like to be labeled as the “leading” guitarist in the Middle East, simple because there are a lot of guitarists that I consider better than me. You also can’t compare guitarists who play different styles and genres with one another. Secondly, I have a lot of goals that I still work and long for, such as releasing solo albums (a step that is going to be taken very soon), going on a world tour with my own music, writing music for an orchestra, and wishing more success for Ewsal Bel 3araby.
By Mohamed Rashad
Aug. 6, 2017
Music junkies all over the Arab World, this one’s for you. In this article, I will tackle everything you need to know about Ewsal Bel 3araby. It is, by all means, the most innovative platform for musicians and music lovers in the Arab region. this week marks one year since the launch of Ewsal Bel 3araby!
The music mafia behind the website is 19th Corporation, one of the leading companies in the Egyptian music industry. 19th Corporation’s founder, Ousso, also happens to be the founder of prominent festival “SOS” that used to rock the Egyptian independent music scene between 2006 and 2009.
Basically, Ewsal Bel 3araby is the more complex and evolved version of SOS because it’s a platform that connects musicians, music lovers, and anyone who wants to learn about music in the Arab World.
Firstly, it gives access to free learning tutorials by the best artists in the region. Secondly, it includes a huge library of solo and jam performances; some of the biggest names in the independent music scene can be found on it.
Thirdly, the website also has a number of playlists that are tailored by the brightest artists. Fourthly, it contains an updated events calendar with all live performances and their venues.
Moreover, the website is a social network for all musicians. They get to create their profiles, update them with their newest content. Music lovers, on the other hand, can go listen, follow updates and more.
Ewsal Bel 3araby‘s best feature (in my opinion) would be El-Sellem (The Ladder). It is a competition adopted by the website that could potentially and immensely help young Egyptians exploring what they love — musically.
Talents from all over Egypt are required to send one-minute videos to the website showcasing their talents. 15 lucky winners will get to go to a special workshop curated just for them, as well as be trained by some of the brightest musicians in the scene.
By Fatma Khaled
Aug. 6, 2017
He’s the guitarist behind many brilliant performances with Amr Diab, Mohamed Mounir, Samira Said and Eftekasat. He’s also a composer and an entrepreneur whose career spans over 25 years. The 39-year-old Mohamed Lotfy, better known as Ousso, co-founded Nagham Masry and has also ventured into events management through the company he founded, The 19th Corporation, and has just launched a brand new initiative to help fellow struggling artists. The self-taught guitarist knows how difficult it is to learn new instruments, especially for those living outside of the capital who don’t speak English and so can’t access online tutorials.
Ousso speaks to us about his latest venture, music and how he came to be one of the top musicians in the country without getting any sort of formal music degrees. Ousso founded Ewsal Bel3araby (www.bel3araby.net), an integrated musical platform in the form of a musical social-networking platform where people can connect and keep us with the music scene. Under the project, Ousso also launched El Sellem; an online platform and YouTube channel where young talents can learn various instruments through online tutorials in Arabic by professional musicians—free of charge. At a recent jamming session, we got to see Ousso at work.
Tell us about yourself.
My career as a professional musician started in 1995 when I used to play rock music. My first concert in the commercial scene came by coincidence as a replacement to the original guitarist for Samira Said in Adwaa El Madina festival. There, I met important musicians who then recommended me for other work and further collaborations such as recording the soundtrack with Yousry Nasrallah’s film El Madina (The City). I later worked with musicians such as Yehia Ghanam, Hassan Khalil, Ahmed Rabie and Eftekasat, co-founded Nagham Masry as well as played and recorded with all the pop artists in the Middle East, such as Mohamed Mounir, Amr Diab, Shereen, Samira Saeed and Angham to name a few.
In 2006, I decided to slow down on commercial concerts, created and organized a major music festival called SOS (Save Our Sound), aiming to introduce indie music to the scene.
Throughout my career, I managed to perform, compose and produce music projects and recordings for several brands like telecommunication networks Etisalat, Vodafone, and Mobinil (now Orange). I have worked on corporate events, such as Nokia Express Festival that consisted of four stages, all carrying out concerts simultaneously.
How did you end up studying at Berklee College of Music in Spain?
I am self-taught, I don’t have a bachelor’s degree in music, but I used to take lessons with pianist Rashed Fahim who was a Berklee graduate and who taught me jazz music theory. Later, in 2009, the American University in Cairo invited me to teach guitar and music technology. Berklee has constructed another campus in Spain specialized in postgraduate studies. The university’s master’s degree required a bachelor’s degree in music, and even though I didn’t have the degree, I managed to send them samples of my work and they offered me a scholarship to join the contemporary music studio program.
What inspired you to create the 19th Corporation and how did it start?
I enjoy organizing and carrying out events and shows related to music, but anything related to event planning is also probably relevant to entertainment; so you have to consider logistics, organization, production, permits, security and venues. I was inspired to launch activities in the entertainment and music industry that would be more creative, original and new—like the SOS music festival and Nokia Express—as well as create a fusion process that is rarely found in the entertainment business.
In 2010, I stopped all of my activities and founded The 19th Corporation to present commercial events in an effort to resume the SOS music festival, but the revolution in 2011 delayed these plans. Later on, I got back to playing music with pop stars Mohamed Mounir and Shereen, and became a full-time musician then went to Berklee. When I came back, I continued performing music and working on organizing major commercials and music, like the album launch tour of Massar Egbari. The company also carried out corporate events like the Marassi Spring Festival with Emaar Misr, the Classic Cars Show, Halloween and El Moled Festivals.
What makes The 19th Corporation company different from any other music production or event management company in Egypt?
First, we don’t organize events for the sake of only generating revenue; we seek to develop projects that are creative and that create a memorable experience. The company was initiated by a professional musician, not just an entrepreneur or businessman.
What is the most special project that the company has produced?
Ewsal Bel3araby is a 360 musical platform to help discover rising musicians across the country. There, one can listen to music, observe, learn or do anything related to music, even networking and getting introduced to music amateurs and professional musicians.
Ewsal Bela3raby teaches music online as a first step and later applicants are encouraged to take part in El Sellem project to learn music and network for further musical collaborations to start their individual processes in composing music, forming their own bands and starting their own musical projects.
What music genres does Ewsal Bel3araby specialize in?
We teach all genres of music in Ewsal Bela3araby, but we don’t teach classical music as we would like to focus more on contemporary music, oriental, jazz, pop, rock and indie genres.
How can Ewsal Bel3araby further develop?
Our next plan involves expanding the project and creating Ewsal Bel3araby music hubs in Arab countries with vast musical networks in countries like Morocco and Dubai.
Tell us more about the tutors who teach music in Ewsal Bela3raby.
There are several talented artists who take the initiative to teach what they know about music through Ewsal Bela3raby, such as Hany El Badry who is very inspirational and plays ney and is known for being a master in oriental music theories. Electronic music is taught by Amir Farag, a band member in MAF, a DJ and music producer who is very knowledgeable when it comes to equipment and software. Azima and Hani Bedeir are two of the percussion teachers who are specialized in teaching Middle Eastern percussion. We also have 10 guitarists, including myself, bass guitarists, drummers, saxophonists, keyboard teachers, oud instructors like Belqais and Mohamed Abo Zekry who fuse traditional oud with contemporary music and Nagwan who teaches Indian rhythms.
What artists and performers do you seek to work with and haven’t worked with yet?
I don’t have any preferences because I have worked with many artists throughout my musical career, including music producers like Tarek Madkour, Tamer Karawan and Hesham Nazih to name a few. I have also worked with many people in the indie music scene.
What do you think of the current music scene in Egypt? What do you think it lacks and how can it develop?
What I see lacking is exactly what I am trying to tackle in Ewsal Bela3raby, which is that the music industry is only present in Cairo and missing in other governorates. Each governorate should feature its own music industry that includes local musicians, venues, concerts and schools. We lack musical knowledge due to the lack of musical exchange between governorates; a problem that Ewsal Bel3araby plans to contribute to solving.
Tell us about a special experience you had as a musician.
The best experience I had was a project called Music Matbakh, organized by the British Council, where they invited two musicians from countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Syria and England. We all stayed in England for one month in a studio, and we composed and produced a lot of soundtracks that could make up three whole albums. We also went on tours and played music and participated in concerts everywhere in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco and the UK.
What’s your advice to young, rising artists?
Practice, study hard, be patient, produce a lot, seek all chances and never lose hope. The music scene is tough and being a professional musician requires a lot of training and commitment, as well as patience and an understanding of the market.
Rising artists should also know that they have chosen one of the hardest careers ever because its chances of success are limited and making a living out of music is even harder worldwide.
Are there any other company projects in the pipeline?
Most of the projects we plan to conduct will be under Ewsal Bel3araby initiative. We want to build a center to teach music and include venues carrying out many live concerts. Other projects will include tours and live concerts. We also plan to implement a five-year plan that will include small venues representing Ewsal Bel3araby in all governorates. These plans will also be in parallel with joint performances with bands and organizing events with other companies.
Earth 19 is another project that The 19th Corporation plans to carry out annually, and it is a music and arts festival organized in collaboration with Earth Gallery in October. The festival will feature a three-day camp including all handmade and eco-friendly materials in an effort to provide awareness and tell people that they can have fun without damaging the environment. It’s a full-on environment-friendly camping experience. The festival will host professional bands and DJs like Massar Egbari, Nagham Masry, Nour Ashour, HOH and MAF. et
By Haisam Awad
July 10, 2017
Apart from Cairokee and maybe even Dina El Wedidi, there have been few bands and artists that have been able to climb the ladder between the underground and the mainstream. Massar Egbari are a few ladder rungs down and Hany Adel’s acting exploits have given his band, Wust El Balad, some attention, but mainstream acceptance has alluded so many others.
Whether they’re burdened by day-jobs and unable to take the leap of faith because of it, or their music is just a little too different for Egyptian ears, these five guys deserve more than Egypt is giving them.
There are few musicians that are as prolific as the ever-so talented and charming indie musician, Hany Mustafa. Whether flying solo as HanyMust, saluting the Beatles with cover band, Glass Onion, or rocking out with Sada That (formerly EgoZ), Mustafa is something of a musician’s musician in Egypt. As proficient on stage as he is in the studio, his various threads of musical output aren’t too alien to fans of contemporary music, but his underground status hasn’t stopped him from giving it his all with several releases over the years and a staunch commitment to gigging.
Often held up unofficially as the best guitarist in Egypt, Ousso Lotfy is already a big deal, having worked with the likes of Mohamed Mounir, Angham, Sherine and Amr Diab. But by his own admission, the mainstream Egyptian music scene isn’t his cup of tea and he’s much more at home collaborating with the likes of Shady Ahmed and Eftekasat. It goes without saying that this, for all intents and purposes, is a darn shame; when Ousso Lotfy is free to be Ousso Lotfy, he is as engaging and skilled a musician as you’ll find in the country.
Better known as that handsome guy from The Cadillacs, Bluenotes and several other bands, George Aboutar can lay claim to being one of the most charismatic front-men on the Egyptian music scene. More than just a guitar-wielding vocalist, few can hold a crowd and look like they’re having as much fun doing so than Aboutar. Had he been born of another land, George would have been a chart-disturbing indie rebel, who’s snapped with a different model every other weekend; the kind that parents warn their children of; a proper, old-school, reckless rock star whose indiscretions are tolerated because of his talent.
Although she’s been on the scene for some time, It’s only in the last six months or so that Egypt has come to read from the gospel of Shereen Abdo. She’s the kind of singer who wears her heart on her sleeve on stage, whose pain, joy and emotion are in every one of her songs. The sultry genre-bending songstress shed the concept of genre long ago and folk, electronic, jazz, progressive rock and even metal are just a few of the sounds she has explored to great success.
There’s an argument to be made that Wael ‘NeoByrd’ Alaa is already a star – but, once again, Egypt hasn’t truly embraced him. Beyond his work in film and advertising, there’s still an untapped goldmine of music to be, well, mined, and although his albums Transbyrd and The King is Dead have been critical successes, he’s still too often referred to as that guy with the big chicken head thing or that guy that did that catchy mash-up. Maybe it’s his reluctance to be part of the local electronic music scene; maybe it’s a case of being a victim of his own grand ambitions in the arts. Either way, that guy with the big chicken head thing is a master of his craft.
By: Fatma Khaled
Jul. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 July 2017: The 19th Corporation, an Event Management Company, launched a new project called ‘Ewsal Bela3raby’ promoting artists and talents in the Egyptian music scene nationwide.
Mohammed Lotfy, CEO of the 19th Corporation, an integrated event management company of several projects found on their website The19thcorporation.com. The company formulates its activities around the best, innovative, and creative entertainment concepts, is the man behind the idea of the project ‘Ewsal Bel3araby.’
Lotfy, an Egyptian self-taught guitarist, composer, and entrepreneur, stepped on every stage with the biggest names in the music scene, including Amr Diab and Mohamed Mounir . He also composed songs for bands like Nagham Masry, Efteksat and HOH, just to mention a few. As founder of SOS Music Festival (2006-2010) which consisted of 19 editions in total, he acquired his reputation as a music maker in the country by supporting independent projects and making them emerge as part of the scene.
However, there was something missing still. Lotfy noticed the evident difficulty to learn music in Egypt and the consequent stereotyping society prints on people who want to make music their lifestyle. He was haunted by the sad reality of those who live in the remote areas of Egypt, where music is unreachable, even as a hobby, let alone as a profession.
The 19th Corporation’s latest project has been live since August 2016 and seeks to be permanent, shedding light on aspiring artists nationwide. The project allows applicants to learn by providing free online Arabic tutorials, to perform with prominent artists in Egypt and the region, and to follow up on news of music events and performances.
The project is operating online through a platform offering a Free Tutorial hub that provides a solo and jam performances library, original ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ playlists, and social networks for artists and art lovers. Other activities on the platform include ‘Jayem Ma’ana’, which is a competition that gathers musicians offering instruments as prizes, and the application of ‘El Sellem’ that generally allows rising talented artists to form a new network of their own.
The Free Hub platform presents music tutorials for 14 instruments conducted by musicians. The project is launching monthly competitions where applicants are required to film themselves playing over a backing track chosen by the website creators.
Music instructors and those who hold musical knowledge whether based in Egypt or abroad are allowed to participate in ‘Darres m3ana,’ which is one of the segments within the project. The instructors are encouraged to film their lessons and upload their videos after being verified by ‘Ewsal Bela3arby’ team.
‘Ewsal Bela3raby’ is also being implemented on ground through ‘El Sellem’ open competition, where applicants upload a one minute solo performance video on the website after which 15 to 20 applicants are chosen by judges located nationwide.
Applicants will then participate in a six-month round where they are required to come to Cairo each weekend for three months to be introduced to the music scene through one-on-one classes and workshops.
During the fourth month, applicants will be divided into two or three bands and each band will be required to prepare a 45-minutes performance. The newly formed bands will play music alongside prominent Egyptian bands such as HOH, Wust El-Balad, and Massar Egbari in the final event; a nationwide tour where ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ will visit some governorates in Egypt on a road trip where surveys will be distributed asking the residents about which band they would prefer to watch live.
The project has a target audience for each governorate ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 in governorates such as Minya and Assiut and from 3,000 to 4,000 in governorates such as Alexandria and Mansoura. The aim of the tour is to promote the newly established bands and promote ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ in other governorates.