Monday May 29th, 2023
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El Fusion Round II

At the second of Cairo Jazz Club's El Fusion events, Waleed Mowafi is wowed by Salalem, Autostrad and a surprise appearance by darkness...

Staff Writer

I had seen Salalem perform before so I knew what I was in for, as I made my way towards Cairo Jazz Club for this week’s edition of El Fusion. I suppose you could call the six-man outfit an Indie/Pop band but that’s still kind of vague. They manage to transcend genres; funky grooves are fused with sarcastic lyrics and uplifting hooks to produce a really unique and energetic sound which always seems to induce their audience into jubilated dances, accompanied by uncontrollable grins. This was definitely the case last Tuesday, when even their inexplicable foreign fan base came out in full force. I’m not even sure they  understand the Arabic lyrics but that doesn’t negate from the fact they were still getting down and shaking it with much enthusiasm to every Salalem song. Aww, white people are great! 

Next up in this fantastical night of Oriental fusion was a special surprise appearance of President Morsi’s ineptitude, personified by a 45-minute power cut. It was a dark performance, perfectly encapsulating the country’s confusion and discontent.

Now to the headliners:  an Indie outfit from Jordan by the name of Autostrad . I had a little chat with Jimmy from Salalem before Autostrad hit the stage who told me it wasn’t the first time the two bands had met, and that they’d had a recent collaboration in Amman. After hearing Jimmy’s rave reviews, I was pretty intrigued to see what they had in store. I had spotted them from across the room, at a corner table at CJC; an eccentric looking gang, sporting biker/porn star-style moustaches accompanied by loud floral shirts. They were also wearing sun glasses. But as they say: never judge an Oriental fusion band by their moustaches…

They hit the stage and immediately took the audience down a turbulent road of psychedelic  rambunctious beats mixed in with bluesy riffs and enticing vocals. The aesthetics of the band all started to make sense now. They weren’t your average Arab Indie band. These guys were blurring the lines between Rock, Jazz and Funk from the future. By the second song, Autostrad had the crowd pulled down a highway of hard driving fusion sounds. I reckon I might get a handle bar moustache…

Check out the line up for all of CJC’s El Fusion nights here.