Fayrouz Karawya (Q&A)

We don’t have a correspondent in Egypt yet, but we really wanted to introduce you to Fayrouz Karawya, a singer and composer from Cairo, and her recent song “Ras Shebaky”. So we’ve contacted Fayrouz and asked her a few questions about…

“Ras Shebaky” itself:

It’s one of 12 tracks I am working on this year with the promising Egyptian composer Kareem Hossam. We’re aiming at presenting a collection of world music with a “jazzy” fundament in terms of music arrangement and harmony basically, in addition to our peculiar take to introduce it with oriental/Egyptian flavor. We go through Latin music, reggae, funk, Rai, swing and gospel tunes, and also Moroccan ginawa. And of course Egyptian folk. We aspire to fuse this diversity in an authentic Egyptian sophisticated production, and it should be ready by the end of this year.

“Ras Shebaky” is written by the late Egyptian poet Fouad Haddad, who is one of the big names in the history of Arab colloquial poetry. The song treats the hesitant melancholic yet whimsical and fun status of love, nostalgia and separation. It is written in playful, sensible and musical Arabic wording which attracted me most, and what makes the words melt beneath the beautiful Latin groove smoothly.

Current music scene in Egypt:

Music in Egypt is getting revolutionized in so many aspects: a much proliferative independent scene, new faces and music projects emerging actively and more appreciation to alternative takes on conventional Arab pop. The local scene is encompassing local “Sha’abi” music besides other projects working on a more developed side in the musical sense. I am optimistic with the expected changes on the scene soon, however, still not so many projects have occupied the authenticity and identity questions.

Her favourite Egyptian musicians of all times:

I would recommend the amazing old local voice of Ahmed Adaweya, and the legendary Egyptian singers Um Kulthu’um and Mohamed Abd-elwahab. In many senses, for me, the three of them – though not belonging to our days – still hold the features of modern Arab music that we’re inspired with, all the time.

Recent music from Africa