The era of cassettes
In Cairo in the era of “cassettes”, my friend Gaby and I used to go to El Shawarbi street in West el Balad, to search for music to inspire us a little.
There was no way of listening to it. Is this any good?
We would leave the shop with lots and lots of cassettes. Then we had to listen, choose, study.
But this was my passion, Arab music, and so I accumulated hundreds and hundreds of cassettes… until there was no more space at home.
In my early days as a dancer in Cairo, in order to learn the music and get to know the classic repertoire, I had to listen and listen. I would often go to the famous street of music, El Shawarbi, in the centro of Cairo. There I would by all the cassettes of Umm Kulthum and other classics that I needed and I would listen hundreds of times to both sides. There was no alternative but to learn it all as quickly as possible.
I had to now the repertoire urgently so that I could dance.
It was a different time. There was no information about many things and it was difficult to learn. But I was very curious and I listened endlessly to music. I was lucky to be able to immerse myself in the original versions, ones which nowadays a lot of dancer consider boring, but which without a doubt are the best and the ones you must know.
This was my favourites shop in the famous street of music El Shawarbi. 1994