Egyptian Project to present dreamy electro-oriental music performance at El-Sawy Culture Wheel

Egypt Today

‘Egyptian Project’, the popular French-Egyptian musical group, will perform at El-Sawy Culture Wheel on January 26. The group will be performing songs from their debut album “Ya Amar” (O’ Moon).

‘Egyptian Project’ was founded by the French musician Jérôme Ettinger in 2010. In 2007, Ettinger had been visiting Cairo to learn how to play the arghul, a traditional oriental woodwind instrument. He had already founded the electro music band ‘Zmiya’, which sometimes incorporated Egyptian and Arabic sounds and rhythms in their songs.

During his stay in Cairo, Ettinger grew more passionate about Egyptian music and its cultural heritage and significance, and put together a group of renowned Egyptian traditional artists to create a touring band. Currently, members of the band include Sayed Emam, Ragab Sadek, Salama Metwally, Anthony Bondu, Antoine Carrique, Karl Archambaud, Vincent Louvet, and Jérôme Ettinger.

The band went on to release their celebrated album “Ya Amar” three years later in 2012. In a CairoScene interview with Ettinger, he explained that creating and recording the songs initially presented a challenge to the Egyptian musicians, who had never played their instruments in this unique mix of genre. It took three years to record the album, which he describes as sounding like “Egyptian poetry flying over a heavy psychedelic dub bass with a rock flavor.”

The band has risen in popularity since their debut, with tours in France and Egypt, and high international chart ratings. Their title song “Ya Amar” is about the unity of different cultures, who are all under the same moon. It is representative of the band’s eclectic and diverse lineup and multicultural concept, as well as a nod to the transitional nature of the Egyptian culture and people. Although the songs are recorded with specific verses of Egyptian poetry often sung by Sayed Emam, the singer and poet freely improvises on stage with words and verses, keeping with the authentic and sincere quality of Egyptian poetry.

The band’s ideas and mission of preserving the Egyptian sound is also promoted through workshops and various outreach projects to share knowledge of Egyptian traditional music, especially concerning the arghul, which Ettinger describes as being a “dying instrument”. It is with this mission that “Ya Amar” is said to preserve the legacy of Egyptian and world music.