Monday, January 29, 2007

Wust el Balad

Wust el Balad is the arabic way of saying 'downtown' and literally translates to 'waist of the country' (or city). It is also the name of the most popular 'pop' group here in Cairo today with thousands of people attending their concerts.

I went to see them play on Saturday night I went long to the Sawy Centre ( also known as the cultural wheel) which i just along the road from me and is a concert hall built under the bridge... so right by the banks of the Nile with the roof- the underneath of the bridge. It is a fabulous place and has all sorts of painting and photographic exhibitions and well and any local bands and musicians and poets who perform there. From Rock to Religious music from Jazz to African. All sorts of things.

Wust el Balad were fantastic- as was the atmosphere...... they have a very eclectic style and move between jazz and baladi, rock and funk, classical and traditional. It IS Cairo. A pure melting pot of many different influences! even if you don't watch the stage the audience is entertaining enough........... young people from all walks of life (well- the ones who can afford the 25le entrance fee anyway) singing along and dancing and shouting out the names of their favourite songs hoping the band will play them (which of course they do!) I have to say that with it all combined- I had tears in my eyes at some of the really sad songs (and thats without knowing all the lyrics!!) Next I would have a big smile on my face jumping up and down -dancing to the music - from one song to the next! The best night out you can have for 25le (just over £2!!!) and I recommend it fully to anyone who loves anytype of music- there really is something for everyone! One of the singers, Hany, (there are 3 male singers- all with very diferent styles of voices) even uses the computer and plays with his voice live on stage and does all sort of beat box stuff- great!

They have a huge following and what is most surprising is that they have never yet released an album that wasn't recorded live- although they were telling us that the studio recording is on the way.... I'll be buying that one for sure! They became big from giving their tracks away on the internet... I hope the get the rewards they deserve (and a good cut of the ticket sales!!!!!!!!!!) You can read more about them on their website


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