Ewsal Bel 3araby: The Ultimate Platform For Independent Music Junkies In The Region

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Scoop Empire

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.

https://scoopempire.com/ewsal-bel-3araby-ultimate-platform-independent-music-junkies-region/

Guitarist with a Purpose

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Egypt Today

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

http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/15/15853/Guitarist-with-a-Purpose

5 Egyptian Musicians That Would Have Been Stars by Now in Any Other Country

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Cairo Gossip

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.

HANY MUSTAFA

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.

OUSSO LOTFY

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.

GEORGE ABOUTAR

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.

SHEREEN ABDO

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.

NEOBYRD

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.

http://www.cairogossip.com/gossip/movies-music/5-egyptian-musicians-that-would-have-been-stars-by-now-in-any-other-country/

Ewsal Bel3raby: a project exploring Egyptian rising musicians

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Egypt Today

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.

http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/10340/Ewsal-Bela3raby-a-project-exploring-Egyptian-rising-musicians

الجيتاريست اوسو يقدم مفاجأة في “قعدة مزيكا” مع زهرة رامي

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أخبار نجوم إف إم

كتب – محرر نجوم إف إم

 ٢٠ أبريل ٢٠١٧

تستضيف زهرة رامي في برنامجها “قعدة مزيكا” يوم السبت الجيتاريست أوسو، وعازف الدرامز أحمد هشام، ولاعب الباس أندرية سيجون.

ويتحدث أوسو عن مشروعه “أوصل بالعربي”، وهو مشروع موسيقي متكامل، عبارة عن شبكة اجتماعية موسيقية على الإنترنت تتيح الفرصة لكل من يريد أن يتعلّم مزّيكا مجانًا، من خلال دروس يقدمها أشهر وأهم الفنانين في الساحة الموسيقية في مصر.

كما يقدم مشروع “أوصل بالعربي”، الفرصة لكل المواهب الموجودة في المحافظات والأقاليم لكي يتعلموا مزيكا بجد مع أشهر وأفضل الفنانين في مصر، عن طريق برنامج “السلم”.

وينتظر أن يتم الإعلان عن مفاجأة خلال الحلقة، التي سوف يتم إذاعتها يوم السبت الساعة 5، حيث سيقدم “أوسو” أغنية بصوته للمرة الأولى.

جدير بالذكر أن أوسو سجّل مع أكبر وأشهر الفنانين في الشرق الأوسط منهم محمد منير وعمرو دياب وأنغام وغيرهم، ومؤسس مشارك لفرقة “نغم مصري”، وكان أحد أعضاء فرقة “افتكاسات” وحاليا عضو في مشروع HOH.

http://www.nogoumfm.net/news

H40 ROCKS THE JAZZ CLUB

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Article By Aaron T. Rose
dailynewsegypt
Eclectic quartet H4O took to the stage on Sunday night in Mohandessin’s Cairo Jazz Club to showcase their styling that mixes jazz with traditional Oriental music and everything in between.
Fronted by renowned Egyptian guitar idol Ousso Lotfy, H4O is the newly-formed incarnation of Lotfy, Hany El-Badry on wood flute, Samer George on bass, and Mostafa Abbas on drums.  The group’s members groove together seamlessly, in no small part because they have been friends for more than a dozen years.  H4O’s sound combines relaxed harmonies with melodies that challenge and engage. The group smooth style paired well with the swanky nightlife of the Jazz Club.
Lotfy’s musical journey that brought him to H4O has been long and diverse, something that comes through in the music. Born and raised in Cairo, Lotfy developed a passion for music at a young age.  Though guitar wasn’t his first instrument, it took the foreground when he first heard the guitar solo in “Mr Brownstone” by legendary American rock and roll band Guns N’ Roses.  Even as a child, Lotfy worked to achieve his musical goals.

“I worked hard.  I practiced and paid my dues,” said Lotfy.

As Lotfy grew up, he helped carve out Cairo’s underground music scene in the 1990s with his heavy metal band, Implosion.  Simultaneously, he played in another band covering classic rock standards for groups like The Doors and The Beatles.
With the 1996 collapse of Cairo’s underground scene, Lotfy changed directions. With encouragement of studio owner Nasser Fathy, Lotfy broadened his musical horizons and decided to play guitar as a career. Already familiar with styles including rock, jazz, and flamenco, Lotfy soon found as much commercial and critical success as he had found in the underground.
A founding member of well-known groups Nagham Masry and Eftekasat, Lotfy has worked hard to develop Egypt’s music scene and grow emerging artists.  As creator of the SOS Music Festival, Lotfy has ushered in a new generation of underground music in Egypt.  In addition, he has also lent his talents to the American University in Cairo where he was an instructor in music technology and taught guitar.

In 2012, Lotfy left Cairo to study music at the world-famous Berklee School of Music in Valencia, Spain.

“There was too much happening here.  I couldn’t focus on growing my music,” said Lotfy.

After graduating from Berklee with his master’s degree, Lotfy was invited to stay on in a teaching role.  Studying, jamming, and creating at Berklee with people from 25 different countries, Lotfy credits his new surrounding with adding new sounds to his music.  But it’s undeniable; all of H4O’s music has roots in the band’s Egyptian heritage.
Lotfy will return to Spain early next month, but H4O is looking forward to beginning production on an album together sometime in December or January.  The group has one more gig before Lotfy departs.

They’ll be performing on Tuesday, 5 November at the River Hall at Sakia.

S.O.S (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH LIMOUZINE & WYVERN BANDS)

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Into The Mood!
SOS is an abbreviation for “Save Our Soul”. The meaning intended is “Save Our Music” and saving ourselves from what the music is about these days. S.O.S, which aims to be a monthly event, supports young Egyptian talents and musicians.Many talents found their own way to fame through the S.O.S Music Festival. The interesting point about the festival that; you might go to only listen to your favorite band. But, suddenly you fall in love with another! Because, each festival  presents about 6 bands at least. It happened to me myself, I fell in love with both so-different bands; Wyvern and Limouzine!


Bang Your Head!
Wyvern is on the stage, so bang your head! The performance of Wyvern makes you feel that you are listening to a top class band from the old-school. The crowd gets into the mood spontaneously unable to resist the awesome music and bang their heads on Wyvern’s riffs.  The band was formed in November 2003 as a 4-piece heavy metal band to cover the songs of heavy/thrash metal legends. In a society that doesn’t accept rock/metal genre it was really difficult for wyvern to get the exposure needed to present their music. They find their way through SOS.

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RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY: BASS CAMP BEIRUT

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It’s a gloomy Cairo morning in mid-March – the sky is grey, the traffic has crawled to a standstill and I’m officially late for my flight to Beirut. The Red Bull Egypt office kindly invited me to join their regional Bass Camp Beirut program, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA), held each year. It felt like a beautiful dream when the Red Bull representative described the program to me – three days filled with new faces, music, and cross-cultural collaborations. Now in its 15th year, the Red Bull Music Academy has been popping up around the globe – the world-traveling festival includes a series of music workshops and performances aimed at creating a platform for those who shape our musical future. RBMA’s Bass Camp, is currently taking place in various regions through out the world, and acts as a mini version of the real Music Academy, which will take place in New York in September.
According to the program’s literature,

“Bass Camp Beirut will arrive in Beirut on March 23rd, 24th, and 25th, with the aim of bringing together four leaders of the music industry with 30-40 gifted instrumentalists, vocalists, DJs, and producers from across the Middle East, for a three-day musical explosion.”

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