By Fanny Ohier
Tuesday 21 May was the second time Cairo Jazz Club (CJC) treated their audience to a musical fusion. The aptly named El Fusion series of concerts started on 14 May and will take place every Tuesday in the popular Agouza venue until 4 June. El Fusion nights offer a combination of two concerts: one by an Egyptian band and the other by a band from the Middle East.
The idea behind El Fusion is to bring together bands from different nationalities that play different types of music, resulting in four nights of mixed musical performances. The first night hosted Zeid and The Wings from Lebanon who were followed by the popular Egyptian band Abo Wel Shabab.
Last Tuesday two different bands from the independent music scene took to the stage, the Egyptian Salalem and their Jordanian friends and counterparts Autostrad, to the delight of CJC’s audience.
Since their creation in 2005, the indie pop band Salalem performed several times on Jordanian stages. Last year they played abroad at the Amman Fe Ramadan festival and next week they will be returning for the Arabic alternative music festival Dum Tak.
When asked about Autostrad, Salalem’s lead vocalist Mohammed Jamal (Jimi) said: “Besides being musicians and two different bands from two different countries, we’ve been friends.” Autostrad and Salalem have collaborated many times in the past, so it was an easy choice for CJC to schedule them on the same night.
In their music the two groups share a same way of looking at the world. “We talk about social issues from a sarcastic point of view,” Jimi said. Autostrad sing about what they see and experience, from the poor people in the streets to their own feelings about the society. ”We have the same message, we share the same vision,” Avo Demerjian, who sings and plays guitar and bass in Autostrad confirmed.
The reggae-funk-rock Jordanian band Autostrad was formed in 2007. The name literally means Highway, because a “highway can be everywhere”, Avo explained, “and so it can bring our message everywhere.” This concept was confirmed when Autostrad started their performance a few minutes after the interview, their message seemed to spread in the crowd as people sang in unison.
The music that flirted with reggae tempos warmed up the night as the audience enjoyed the second instalment of El Fusion. Tuesday 28 May promises to please rock fans; Egyptian rock band Darwasha will perform with a soon to be announced band from the region. Egyptian indie pop singer Sara El Gohary will take the stage on the last El Fusion Tuesday as will oriental jazz blues fusion band Ribab Fusion from Morocco.