Cairo Jazz Club's third round of El Fusion did not disappoint, bringing the awesomely eccentric Tunisian songstress Ghalia Benali, and celebrated CJC regulars Masar Egbari to their stage.
They say the third time’s a charm, but the first two were very charming, so I wasn’t very sure what to expect with El Fusion’s round three. Last week Jordan’s eclectic 47SOUL and Egypt-based House prodigies Soopar Lox took over CJC’s stage for a fifty shades of absolute cray night. Tunisian songstress, Ghalia Benali, and the unstoppable Massar Egbari were up next. All I could think was: third time’s a charm or a curse?
Ghalia Benali gets on the stage wearing a blue baby-beads top, with a Chinese fan in her hand, and a big head of hair (which we imagine is full of secrets). And then she opened her mouth and started singing. Benali was a powerhouse with her captivating Neo-Tarab Arab soul-y voice and infectious personality. She danced like a little kid, unhinged and untied from expectations of how a singer, especially a female singer, is supposed to carry herself in front of an audience. She has full ownership of her identity. Her performance style is about empowerment through the audience's individuality. Benali was our captain of fun, ensuring that we freak out, just as her song "Ya Mesafer" requires. (Charm 1 – 0 Curse)
As for the Selfie challenge, neither Biko nor me won! I BLAME YOU GHALIA BENALI AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL VOICE THAT MAKES ME WANT TO RUN BAREFOOT THROUGH A MISTY FOREST WEARING A FLOWER CROWN!!! Nonetheless, congrats to the new Selfie challenge champion. (Charm 1 – 1 Curse)
Homegrown Massar Egbari have come a long way since "El-Lelah El-Kebeera," and that’s never been more evident than it was at last week’s El Fusion. Any niggling feelings of the third time’s being a curse washed away when Hani El Dakkak began belting out their Egyptian alternative rock songs, infused with jazz, blues and oriental melodies that we all know and love oh-so-freaking much. (Charm 9999999999 – 1 Curse)
This Thursday, El Fusion will be coming back for the fourth AND final round. If you haven’t made it to any of them, make sure to make it to this one, 'cause it’s gonna be big. Flying in from Beirut, Fareeq El Atrash will bring you their fresh Hip Hop sound with an organic twist, and music revolutionaries, Abo Wel Shabab, will be starting a riot with their original indie/oriental compositions.