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Salalem To Heaven

They might have silly names and even sillier answers but this Music Matters with Cairo's favourite band, is one of the best to date.

As one of Egypt’s favourite underground bands, Salalem –  made up of Jimi, Sherif, Solo, Ezz, Walkman and Osama – have been giving us eight years worth of eargasms with their uplifting brand of indie-pop and lyrical satire. On the eve of what’s set to be a mind-blowing weekend of performances at Almaz and the CJC, we invited them in to talk catapults, cassette tapes and of course staircases…

First off,  because there are so many of you, we need you to shout out your names before you answer, so that the recording makes sense.

Osama: Osama!

What? No, only BEFORE you answer. OK so first off, why are you named after stairs?

We used to sit on the stairs at university (Ain Shams) and just jam. Osama!


My name is Osama. You said to say my name.

Before you answer. You need to say your name before the answer. So what is your favourite form of transport upwards?

Walkman: Catapult.

Osama: I’m afraid of lifts. Osama!

That wasn’t the question but OK, what’s everyone else’s phobias?

Walkman: Snakes and mice.

Solo: Cockroaches and the sea at night. The sea at night is a scary scary place.

Ezz: I am also scared of cockroaches.

How would you define your musical identity?

Jimi: We are an Egyptian indie/pop band and we use our lyrics to saitirise Egyptian society. At the same time I hope we’re able to inject a little bit of positivity and hope into our musical message.

What was the first concert you ever played?

At El Sawy Culture Wheel but we had a different lead singer back then. His name was Mahmoud Ibn El Khatee2a.

That wasn’t really his name!

Yes it was.

And where did the name Walkman come from?

Walkman: At university I’d just sit and listen to my Walkman all day.

You still listening to your Walkman or is it an MP3 now?

Jimi: No, rabena karamu after we started working wa gab iPhone.

So who are your favourite bands in Egypt?

Walkman: None of them.

Jimi: Nagham Masry and Wust El Balad.

Are you jealous that Cairokee became the voice of the revolution?

Any one band’s success benefits the entire industry. Cairokee isn’t necessarily the type of music we’re into but it has its audience.

Osama: OSAMA!


Osama: I like Cairokee.

If you could play in any venue in the world, where would it be?


So you guys are going to performing at Almaz this Friday January 18th! What is your favourite thing about Almaz?

We’ve never been there before, but we’re excited to start playing there.

How much do you love Almaz?

We’re happy to be playing there.

Is Almaz the best venue in Cairo ever?

We’re assuming it’s a great venue and we’re looking  forward to playing there. Are Almaz paying you?

How about Cairo Jazz Club? You’re playing there the next day on Saturday January 18th!

Yes we are.

We love Cairo Jazz Club. And Alamz. We love them both equally. What is the strangest or funniest thing that’s happened to you while performing?

Osama: OSAMA!


Osama: When Walkman fell off the stage. That was funny.

Which stage?

Osama: At Porto Marina. Wa e7na 2a3deen el track kan 3aneef shwayea fa wa hawa beyel3ab kan el korsy beyet7arak wa we2e3 we rama el guitar.

What was the best concert you ever played?

Art Beat at Darb 1718 which was organized by the Cairo Jazz Club people.

What about Almaz?

As we said, we’ve not played there yet. We’re playing there this Friday.

Almaz is brilliant. So what is your ultimate ambition?

Osama: El Sakia.

Ezz: Ana 3awez amasel.

Jimi: Our ultimate ambition to reach all the social classes in Egypt.

Walkman's dream

Have you played outside of Egypt before?

We’ve played in Jordan.

Who has the biggest ego out of all of you?


Who has the best fashion sense?


Who has the biggest penis?

*They refuse to answer*

Do any of you have day jobs?

Solo: I import anything and everything.

Jimi: I work at an NGO – Nahdet El Mahrousa.

Walkman: I work at bookstore and publishers Kotob Khan.

Ezz: I am a full time musician.

Jimi: Ezz worked with some of the greats! Kazim El Saher and many more.

Osama: Abu Dhabi Bank. That’s where I work.

What’s your favourite Pokemon?

Walkman: Psyduck.

* CairoScene roar of applause *

Osama: Osama!

Yes, Osama?

I like the Ninja Turtles. My favourite is Donatello.


Because he carries a wooden stick.

Say something about Morsi…

Osama: Balash 3asham momken ashtem gamed.

Say something to all those new acts making their way into the underground scene…

Jimi: Et3alem music wa ba3deen enzel el3ab.

Say something about CairoScene….

Osama: Ba7eboko awy.

Salalem will be playing at Almaz  (Swiss Inn Hotel, 7 El Hegaz St., Mohandessin) this Friday January 17th and at the Cairo Jazz Club on Saturday January 18th.