D-CAF’s Cairo Calling brings electro-shaabi to the fore
Knaka (MC) - Shaimaa ElBanna (British Council) - Diesel (Producer/MC) - Photo courtesy of britishcouncil

CAIRO: As part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) Cairo Calling is holding its second music development workshop from March 20 to 27, featuring a selection of renowned Egyptian-British collaborative works.

Cairo Calling is a music program that aims at bridging Cairo’s electro-shaabi/mahraganat scene and the electronic music scene in London through sharing the best collaborative work at public events. It also aims at fostering new artistic movements in Cairo while simultaneously providing UK artists with insight into North African and Arabic music.

The program was launched in January in collaboration with the British Council, London-based electronic music radio station Rinse FM and 100Copies; a Cairo-based music label.

The first workshop took place in London, where UK artists Magnetic Man, Hyperdub, Kode9, Faze Maiyake and Egyptian artists Figo, Sadat, Dezel and Knka formed a core group that participated in development workshops from Jan. 15 to 19.

British artists Pinch, Mumdance and Faze Miyake will participate in the workshop that takes place in the spiritual homeland of the mahraganat (electro-shaabi) scene, in Al-Salam city, north of Cairo.

The British artists are scheduled to participate in an Egyptian wedding before they perform the workshop’s closing ceremony at D-CAF, along with the Egyptian artists, on 27 March.

Rinse FM works with pioneers of the electro-shaabi music genre, which is a digitized fast-tempo take on Egyptian folk music, incorporating traditional instruments that are sampled and divided into frenetic time signatures.

Rinse FM and the British Council have been working closely with 100Copies and leading figures from the mahraganat scene in Egypt to develop a beneficial relationship with capacity for creative growth on both sides.

Kathy Costen, Head of the art programs at The British Council said, in a press release, that the council is eager to support art collaboration and development of musicians in both Egypt and the UK.

“We support musical variation including contemporary, classical and the electro-shaabi. We are delighted to see that cooperation between Rinse FM and 100Copies boosts the cultural interaction of artists in both countries which contributes to enhancing music production in Egypt,” said Costen.

Additional reporting by Eman Adel.

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