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robertogreco : zeidhamdan   2

Maryam Saleh: A Musical Nebula
"Maryam Saleh is a musical soul raised in a musical house in a not so distant musically vibrant Kahira. As a child, Saleh was spoiled by a wide array of musicians coming in and out of her house, igniting a passion for the arts from an early age. “My mother was a singer and had a lot of musical friends who filled our house with beautiful sounds. My choice to sing wasn’t random, it was something I grew up with and knew I would do when I got older,” passionately explains Saleh. Growing up understanding the power music has over shaping thoughts and identity, Saleh ignored the pop singers polluting the mainstream and decided to channel the controversial sound of working class cult hero Sheikh Imam Mohammad Ahmad Eissa. According to Saleh, “When I turned 16 I decided to form a band named Gawaz Safar to cover my favourite Sheikh Imam songs. He was banned from singing and his music wasn’t released on cassettes. My goal was to sing his songs publicly - it almost felt like a political decision, but I wanted to expose friends and music lovers to his inspiring works and put together a tribute concert in his honour.”

Sheikh Imam is arguably one of the first underground folk artists to emerge in Egypt. Blinded at the age of five, this inspirational musical prodigy didn’t let his disability stop him from making music, and sang a message which rung true for the underprivileged in society while enraging the ruling class. Teaming up in 1962 with legendary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, the duo began composing political songs that were instantly banned from radio and television and resulted in their imprisonment on multiple occasions. Unable to perform in his home country Sheikh Imam built a career in the mid 80’s playing abroad in major musical hubs like France, Britain, as well as across the Middle East. While most Egyptians of the time were listening to budding artists like Amr Diab, Saleh instead researched alternative sounds that dared to challenge the status quo, which is what drew her to Sheikh Imam’s work.

Resurrecting his work, Saleh’s interpretation of the revolutionary icon was well received and gave her the boost of confidence needed to courageously set out to release an album under her own name entitled Ana Mesh Baghany. Talking about her debut album Saleh tells me that “It was the first album I worked on under my own name instead of hiding behind a band or collaboration. All the music in this album was composed by me except for two songs composed by musical director Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. It was an important album for me because it was my introduction to the musical world and documents my development as an artist.” Ana Mesh Baghany was released by Eka3 record label, and was praised as a successful introduction to Saleh’s work with tracks reaching over a 200k+ views YouTube. Furthermore, the album found success in television as tracks were used in the soundtrack of a Ramadan TV series entitled Farah Leila. “I felt somewhat scared when the album had the opportunity to be taken as sound track in a Ramadan TV series. They ended up using most of the songs in the series, which is a lot more exposure than the kind of success that most underground artists get. I was a little bit scared that this would put me in particular frame as an artist and I don’t like to be framed,” admits Saleh.

To avoid being labeled or framed as a singular genre singer, Saleh continues to expand her musical horizons moving from Sheikh Imam inspired Folk into variety of sounds ranging from Hip Hop to Electro Pop. “When I create a song I do a lot of research looking for new sounds and attempting to share a feeling that most people experience. I tend to search for humour in misery, creating lyrics fitting for a dark comedy.”

Looking to build on the success of her debut album, Mostakell records (a label under Eka3 platform) will be supporting her latest release, Halawella, which will explore new musical territories with a different collaborator, influential Lebanese artist Zeid Hamdan. According to Saleh, “I met Zeid when he was touring with a band called Kaza Mada. At the after party in Alexandria, I began singing with some friends, but I believe Zeid had already gone to bed as he usually sleeps early. Overhearing us singing, Zeid returned joining in with a tambourine and afterwards asked me to record songs with him.” The dynamic duo returned to Cairo and recorded three songs and a video in Alex before Zeid returned to Lebanon. Despite being able to record from scratch in a day, the album would take four years before being completed.

A large reason the album has taken years to make, is due to the hectic schedule of both Saleh and Hamdan. Arguably one of the hardest working musicians in Lebanon, Zeid Hamdan always has something coming out, working with over a dozen outfits across the Arab world and supporting each release with a tour. During that same time, Saleh found herself building the reputation as a successful actress, appearing in television and movies. “I have worked on multiple film projects. I was in Ibrahim Batout’s Ain Shams, Osama Fawzi’s Bel2lwan el Tabe3yah, among other shorts. I was also in the Ramadan TV series Farah Leila starring Leila Elwy, which used most of the songs from Ana Mesh Baghany. The latest film project I took part in is the yet to be released; Akher Ayam el Madina directed by Tamer El Saeed. What people don’t know is that I like to assist behind the scenes as a stylist or director’s assistant a lot more than appearing in front of the camera,” confesses Saleh."
2015  maryamsaleh  music  egypt  zeidhamdan  arabic  sheikhimam 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Featuring a Collaboration between Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan Mostakell Releases Halawella
"Mostakell has revealed the release of Halawella, a new album featuring the cooperation between the Egyptian underground singer Maryam Saleh and the Lebanese composer Zeid Hamdan. The new album, under the name of Halawella, will comprise 10 songs; half of which are inspired by the oeuvre of the salient duo Sheikh Imam and Ahmed Fouad Negm. Maryam has been influenced by both artists in some of her earlier songs. The new album will include remixes of these songs by Zeid, in addition to some of Maryam's songs.

Halawella, which will be released on Thursday 17 September, is the fruitful result of Maryam and Zeid's successful tours since 2010 in Cairo, Beirut, and Tunisia, in addition to their international tours in London, Rome, Amsterdam, and others where Zeid Hamdan's remixes are very well-received.

A powerful voice for her generation, Egyptian singer and songwriter Maryam Saleh composes and performs music that is personal, political and philosophical; intense, intelligent Egyptian music with Arabic language and influences of Trip Hop and Psych Rock. In the past year few years, Maryam has played widely across Egypt, the Arab World, and Europe. Since success collaborating with a number of bands and music projects, Maryam has forged a path as a solo artist, recording and performing her own projects and collaborations. Using her muscular, alluring vocals and charismatic stage presence, Maryam brings her inventive contemporary compositions to life. This charisma has been enriched by her participation in many acting roles as well, in Independent and mainstream Egyptian Films and TV Series, including Ein Shams (2006), Akher Ayam El Madina, Bel Alwan El Tabe'eya (2008), Farah Layla Series (2013), among others.

Zeid Hamdan is a well-known Lebanese composer and producer in the alternative music scene since the 90's. He was dubbed "the godfather of Lebanese underground music" due to his continuous support of Lebanese and Arab bands mixing between diverse types of Arab and international music, such as Kazamada, Zeid and the Wings, Katibeh 5, the New Government, and Soap Kills; a band which originally was formed in 1997 and became a pioneering indie band in the Arab world. By collaborating with them, Zeid mixed electronic music with classic Arabic music, in addition to singing along with the band member Yasmine Hamdan, whose stardom was catapulted after joining the band. CNN network selected Zeid Hamdan as one of the 8 most influential figures in Lebanese culture."
2015  maryamsaleh  music  lebanon  egypt  arabic  zeidhamdan 
september 2015 by robertogreco

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