Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ferry to culture

Danny; Sini Peninsula, Egypt

Yesterday we drove from Cairo to Port Said University to play a concert. We took the ferry across the Suez canal. This would be the first of four trips across the canal and I think that's probably a world record for any US Band;)

The hall started to fill up with students and they seemed so exited to share in the morning's event. We played our songs and they clapped and sang along as we interacted with them all morning. They played some Arabic songs for us and we were so impressed by their talent and
musicianship. Their ensemble consisted of students and faculty on guitars, bass, percussion, drumset, voice, oud and dulcimer etc. We joined them on one of their traditional songs and then they did some percussion solos and a flamenco type trio with two guitars and bass.
We spent so much time taking pictures and signing CDs with all the students. We have seen so much activity and made so many new friends on Facebook since yesterday. The faculty, staff and students made us feel so at home and we all had the best time. We ended with some early rock & roll and I never thought I'd hear a version of Jailhouse Rock that included an oud trading licks with Joe's electric guitar, while a dumbek, riq and a tar jammed out along with my drumset.

We were sad to leave the school, but we had to say our goodbyes and packed our gear in order to get to the next school.

We got back on the Ferry and went back across the Suez canal. We ate some amazing falafel and bean sandwhiches in the car on the way.
We got to the next school where we set up and played for some public school children who came after school to this private school as part of a US Embassy program. The students in this workshop were so smart, funny and talented. These students like most we've encountered in Egypt, could sing back almost any rhythm and melodic lick that we threw at them.

We signed more CDs answered questions and were so impressed with their english language skills.

We packed up our gear again and drive towards the ferry and took it across for the 3rd time now, back to the Sini peninsula. Here you can cross from the Africa side o Egypt to the Asia side. This area is right on he Mediterranean sea and the fishing and shipping industry has influenced the local musical culture as well.

We got on to Sini & did an unplugged setup at an outdoor beach cafe on the Mediterranean.

The children were mentored by some amazing local musicians who were teaching them the songs, rhythms and dances that are an important part of their historical musical culture. The songs were influenced by the local trading, fishing and farming. They touched our hearts with their singing, playing and dancing. We played with them on some of their music and they joined us on some of our music. We have some vids of them and I can't wait to put some up when we get more bandwith;)
It was an amazing day of sharing music, dance, food and laughter. I am so blessed to have been here in the Mid East, Africa and now Egypt with my bandmates, sharing all this love and happiness.

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