Posted: December 19, 2006 in Uncategorized

Fathy Days : Soltany Salama

i caught up with Fathy Salama at Sawy prior to the launch of his new album Soltany, to ask him of his views on the bubbling musical scene in Cairo…

What does that Grammy award mean to you ?

Its when you plant something from the very beginning. You do something with real effort and you do it your own way, not in a commercial way or someone else’s way and you receive a Grammy for it. That it is possible to achieve if you combine originality with good ideas in your own special direction. I wasn’t trying to win a Grammy. I was just trying to do something good. My favorite part was the fusion between traditional Egyptian and Senegalese sounds and collaborating with Youssou Ndour, I really enjoyed seeing my idea translate to sound.

Winning a Grammy instantly transforms you into an authority in music…?

I started this whole scene that they call alternative music right now. That’s history. Because Sharqiat existed since ‘88. That’s a very long time. Also many of the bands that are on the scene these days were inspired by Sharqiat.

How do you stand when it comes to the new bands trying to make an impact ?

I’m with them, not against them. I’m with people who try to work and try new ideas. I think many of them have good ideas, a special direction, one that is different. But what they lack is that many need to work on their abilities, because many of these musicians are missing a lot in order to become true instrumentalists. So if we take the guitar, for example, regardless of the style the musician he/she should have enough knowledge of the guitar to play that guitar and do it justice, not to mention being in tune. Yet these things are somehow forgotten here amongst some of the new bands. They flow with their idea, and sometimes they’re happy with a little success they may encounter and they’re floating with imaginary visions, that they forget that they need to be standing on solid ground first. So they forget the basics, or rush them.

So they sail off into space as a price of not establishing roots ?

Exactly. And there’s nothing that can bring them back.

In the future what kind of music should we expect from local bands ?

In any case we are still talking of a minority. Local bands are still very much a minority. Mainstream and commercial music are in control, so the future is not in the hands of these bands. I think the commercial scene will stay the same, if only get more stupid. And maybe, and I’m saying maybe, the alternative scene may make a launch and start to get a bit bigger. And maybe one day it may have the chance to fill the place of the typical commercial music being produced now.

The alternative scene may make the mistake of trying to be commercial, and I think that’s what is happening right now. They’re just producing, with nothing new or original. So instead of providing an alternative they try to catch up with the mainstream and not really being able to, so they end up in the middle, neither alternative nor mainstream. They don’t know what they want. They’re focusing on making more money and selling records to more people rather than on their music. I’m not against WAMA, or Wust El Balad or anybody, or even Nancy Ajram, but I like the idea that we’d like to see different things start to happen. The musicians should try to be more of musicians and less commercial.

So what’s the best advice you can give talents who seem to be moving faster towards commercialism ?

They have to go back home and practice, before doing anything. That’s my advice.




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