SOS concert features original music of all varieties

Daily News Egypt
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Wust El-Balad plays at promotional event for concert, announces new album

CAIRO: Top Egyptian band Wust El-Balad gave a performance to a small group of lucky fans at City Stars’ Virgin Megastore yesterday afternoon at a promotional event for the SOS music concert that is being held later today.

In the first festival of its kind, a line-up of ten Egyptian bands is due to take the stage at the Cairo International Conference Center’s Chinese Garden in Nasr City. The event, which aims to provide a platform for both new and established Egyptian bands playing original music, will begin at 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon and carry on late into the night. The different acts performing cover a wide range of musical tastes, from punk rock to raï, via blues, jazz and funk. To encourage creativity, the bands will have to play their own material and not cover versions.

The event’s organizers SOS also announced yesterday that they will be producing a new album by Wust El-Balad in January next year, to be accompanied by a big publicity campaign across the Middle East.

Hani Adel, guitarist and vocalist with the group, said the festival was a long-awaited break for the band. “At last we’re going to get produced! This will give us the chance to present Egyptian music on a world stage. For a long time our fans thought that we didn’t want to produce an album, so it’s good news for them too, Whilst trying to attract as broad an audience as possible for the festival by not charging for admission, the organizers say anyone who wants to attend will have to answer a questionnaire through the festival’s Web site, Invitations will also be sent out to the fan clubs of the bands performing.

“We want to make sure that the people coming to the show are coming because they’re into the music, said Garo Varjabedian, one of the event organizers. By distributing tickets in this way, the organizers hope to avoid any “misbehavior, which they say, “has plagued the reputation of the party scene in Cairo. In the absence of ticket revenues, all the costs for the event are being covered by sponsors, foremost among them the Mobinil.

“We have sponsored a lot of entertainment events before, we want people to enjoy themselves, said Mobinil spokesperson Riman Ramadan. “Plus, the youth platform is a major platform that we’re looking for as a company. The organizers are hoping to turn the festival in to a regular fixture. “We want to make the festival at least quarterly, and we would like to take it to different parts of Egypt. A lot of people only listen to music on the video channels, and there the quality is awful, they’re just copying foreign music. We want to expose people to something new, said Varjabedian.

These sentiments were echoed by Shahan Terzibashian, bassist for the band Mood Shift, which will also be playing at the festival, “I think that music has got to the point where people just watch the video clips rather than really listen. We need to save music in this country.

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