Last night I went to an event organised by D-Caf (downtown contemporary arts festival) www.d-caf.org. It's a great idea for a festival and good to have an excuse to venture back downtown at night... something i have usually avoided doing in the past two years since the revolution.
I didn’t know what the event was – only that it was in the venue Sherazade club, which usually is one of Cairo’s seedy cabaret nightclubs with bad bellydance, cheap beer and money showers. OK, so I am aware that doesn’t sell it much. However, it is the most amazing place with murals painted on all the walls of oriental dreams and images of bellydancers. The stage has the red velvet curtains with gold braiding within a gold archway. The lighting fixtures (not the fairy lights hanging from everything but the actual fitted fixtures!) are art deco. It is just a fabulous venue. And it was perfect for this event too.
The place was packed... a LOT of people, mainly young, many foreign and all there for the music.
First up was a Syrian hip hop group who had a lot of potential. They mixed Arabic and English and I believe they could go far... I liked most of the tracks... I got a little frustrated though because the mics weren’t balanced correctly so a lot of what was being said/sung which wasn’t audible. Also I got the impression they were not used to being on stage and in fact only after when I read the program did I see that this was in fact their debut. Like I said- potential to go far. Was enjoyable!
The next act had the stage skills down to a tee. Khadafi Dub is from USA and even if his music wasn’t to your taste (dub/electronic) you had to appreciate he had stage presence and was entertaining! I loved the music and was dancing like a nutter most of the night!
In fact, I really appreciated the fact that I was there with a group of friends, who were mainly standing behind me, which meant I could dance my heart out, as if no one was watching, without the fear of anyone trying anything on.... I felt safe and free. It was a much needed night.
I wish that club would be a regular weekly club. I think it has massive potential as a club night, whatever style of music they choose to play there. And it was a lot busier than it usually is as a cabaret! Of course- what I would dearly love to see there is a club night that was Egyptian music; with bellydance... it would be the perfect setting for it!
Afterwards, because one club night in a Cairo evening is never enough... I went to Outdoors at the maxim boat to see the end of Ellie of London’s set there. It was a completely different vibe..... but also a lot of fun. A much older crowd than had been at sherazade, and very different music. I had felt I had used all my energy up in the 1st place- but then the Syrian musicians they have there (wonder violin and keyboards combo who play the music every bellydancer dreams about) played Enta Omri and there was me- up and going for it as though I hadn’t already been boogieing the night away! In fact- I enjoyed it so much that I plan to go back again tonight, after I finish work. I love dancing with Egyptian women who aren’t dancers.... I learn so much about the attitude and feel of the dance from them!