Rouh wa Jasad
This music is a treasure chest of pleasures for anyone interested in the meeting of cultures and the mix of traditional and contemporary approaches to making beautiful music.
This is no academic exercise in combining styles; it is the living, breathing sounds of multi-cultural Egypt today.
- Artist: Africairo
- Title: Rouh Wa Jasad
- Body and Soul
“I feel like Egyptian music is essentially Oriental African music; that’s the sound of Egypt“
— Ahmed Omar
Africairo is a Cairo-based group that brings together African and Oriental cultures at a point where the two cross paths. Both rhythmically and melodically they draw on traditions that coexist in the variety of cultures that are found in Egypt and the surrounding region.
The Africairo project is led by Ahmed Omar, a well known bass player from Cairo, who was born in Libya to an Eritrean Father and an Egyptian mother. With this background it is no surprise that mixing cultural influences has become part of his creative output. Omar began to learn guitar when he had to stay at home while his friends went to University.
Omar was unable to accompany them as he didn’t have Egyptian nationality.
Later he became a wedding singer performing Egyptian and Nubian songs. He now plays guembri and bass in a number of well known groups in Cairo. It was after a visit to Eritrea in search of his roots that Omar started to think about the relationships between African and Oriental music. He had gone there with an old letter, seeking members of his father’s family. On his return to Egypt he decided the best way to strengthen ties with Eritreans in Egypt was through music. He then began to search out musicians from other traditions and to create the music that has become the Africairo project.
The result is a style that is very accessible to listen- ers unfamiliar with both African and Oriental music, but which creates something totally new. A total of 13 musicians have contributed their talents to this work, including musicians from Eritrea, Sudan, Jor- dan, Kuwait and, of course, Egypt itself. The musi- cians themselves have talked about how this project is showing them new avenues of expression. For the listener there is the pleasure hearing two cultures come together in a mix of beautiful melodies and irresistible rhythms.
“Every track they play reflects a different human condition arising from the connections it makes between Arabic and African traditions.”
1 – Zagal fi Sophe Zagal for Sophie
2 – Afrikia belaraby Africa in Arabic
3 – Bahr Ahmar The Red Sea
4 – Hareer Silk
5 – Rouh wa Jasad Body and Soul
6 – Safar el Sahara Saharan journey
7 – Wahm el Wosoul Access for all
8 – Kpanlogo Name of a Ghanaian dance
Ahmed Omar Bass Guitar, Guembri (Egypt, Eritrea)
Fadi Badr Qanun (Egypt)
Ashraf Awad Oud (Sudan)
Mostafa Dagher Violin (Egypt)
Laith Suleiman Ney (Jordan)
Bob Djembe (Egypt)
Hani Bedair Req, Dohola, Doff (Egypt)
Ali Hassan Bongos (Eritrea)
Asia Madani Kara (dengir) (Sudan)
Ibrahim Fanous Kirar (Eritrea, Ethiopia)
Meshal Juma Clarinet (Kuwait)
Fayrouz Kadal Classical Flute (Egypt)
Dela Botri Atenteben bamboo flute (Ghana)
All compositions by Ahmed Omar
Recorded mixed and mastered in Studio Vibe in Cairo by Taher Saleh.
This production was made possible through Culture Resource’s Production Awards Program
© ℗ Ahmed Omar. Nesma Music. Solfeon Ltd Spain