Mic check, Mic check: Egypt gets their Fête de la Musique on at Salah Eddin Citadel
On Thursday 20 June, the French Institute in Cairo held the Fête de la Musique in Egypt's historical Salah Eddin Citadel. Hundreds of mostly young and '30-and 40-something music lovers gathered in front of the stage set in the courtyard surrounded by the 12th century walls.
Fête de la Musique, a large music festival, was launched in 1982 by the French culture ministry and has since been held yearly, usually on 21 June, across over one hundred countries on five continents where people celebrate what has now become known as the World Music Day.
Although usually held every year in Egypt, last year's festival did not take place due to "complexities in the organisational and the administrative procedures," according to Charlotte Hiesse, the head of the information office at the French Institute.
This year, the Fête de la Musique returned in its full power with an interesting line-up, including bands Darwasha, Salalem and the Egyptian Project.
Hiesse explained to Ahram Online that this year the French Institute wanted to highlight Egyptian bands that embrace new musical and artistic experimentations.
According to the French Institute's website, the three selected bands are characterised by their dynamic music and festive atmosphere, in keeping with the concept of the Fête de la Musique. Darwasha was established one year ago by composer Mohammed Darwish and fuses Arabic rock and metal with electronic music.
Darwish tells Ahram Online his band's name, aside from being a version of his own name, is also a derived from the Arabic word, darwish, which means the person who is committed to something. Darwasha, moreover, explains the band's innovative music fusion.
"We play the songs that can best reflect the surrounding political events, although we do not always talk about them directly," Darwish explained to Ahram Online.
Darwasha opened their concert with Um Um, which is an Arabic word that refers to closed and dark places, in this case a metaphor for the oppression that limits freedoms and rights. Other songs included Benmed Ard (We are Extending Land) which symbolises the attempt to move beyond the earth with all its problems and disasters.