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Apr
25


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Sham El Nessim 2011

Today we celebrate a purely Egyptian holiday that does not sepereate people based on beliefs, a day that unites us all and reminds us of our culture, our heritage and our history.

Sham El Nessim can be traced back to 2700 B.C., a holiday that Ancient Egyptians used to celebrate.

Here’s a small excerpt from Wikipedia explaining the origin of  this ancient holiday:

The name of the holiday is derived from the Egyptian name of the Harvest Season, known as Shemu, which means a day ofcreation. According to annals written by Plutarch during the 1st century AD, the Ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce, and onions to their deities on this day.

The former chairman of the Antiquities Authority, explains that:

The spring festival coincided with the vernal equinox and the ancients imagined that that day represented the beginning of creation. The date of Sham ennesim was not fixed. Rather, it was announced every year on the night before the feast at the foot of the Great Pyramid. The feast of Shemu, means “renewal of life”. The Ancient Egyptians first celebrated the feast of Shemu in 2700 BC, towards the end of the 3rd Dynasty.

In his book, Manners and Customs of the Modern EgyptiansEdward William Lane wrote in 1834:

A custom termed ‘Shemm en-Nessem‘ (or the Smelling of the Zephyr) is observed on the first day of the Khamaseen. Early in the morning of this day, many persons, especially women, break an onion, and smell it; and in the course of the forenoon many of the citizens of Cairo ride or walk a little way into the country, or go in boats, generally northward, to take the air, or, as they term it, smell the air, which on that day they believe to have a wonderfully beneficial effect. The greater number dine in the country or on the river. This year they were treated with a violent hot wind, accompanied by clouds of dust, instead of the neseem; but considerable numbers, notwithstanding, went out to ‘smell’ it.

We hope everybody enjoys a very joyful and wonderful day, this would be the best opportunity to celebrate a new dawn for Egypt.

كل عام والمصريين بخير

source: Sham El Nessim Wikipedia Page

Oct
10


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Eftekasat: A Great Musical “Eftekasa”

Pretty much the most famous band in Egypt (after West El Balad) but probably the most talented one.

I can’t imagine someone living in Egypt not knowing about Eftekasat, this band can not be missed.

Eftekasat is an Oriental Jazz Fusion band from Cairo. They started up around 2002 and released their first album Mouled Sidi El Latini (The Latin Dervish) around 2006 and their second one Dandasha was out early 2010.

What makes Eftekasat very special is the different musical influences the band members bring in. Their music blends oriental instruments and scales with some jazz and funk beats and keyboard chords accompanied by, what would be their “cherry on the cake”, electric guitar riffs and solos. Their sound is very original and unique, you can easily tell it’s them by listening to just 5 seconds of a song. It has a warm familiar Egyptian feel (the nay, the violin and the accordion) and a funky and groovy kick to it.

Recently, the band had some changes in their line-up, which can be a little tiny bit noticeable on their second album, but the Eftekasat spirit can still be felt and their distinct sound can still be heard.

They are mainly an instrumental band, which is why some people find it hard to listen to them, and that’s an issue with our beloved people that we need to work on. The concept of instrumental music really needs to be more introduced, appreciated and understood in our society (even though a lot of people do listen to Omar Khayrat!).

This is probably Egypt’s finest musical product in years, and the band most definitely deserves a listen.

This won’t be the last time you hear about them on Mashareeb, we will talking more about them in the future posts and we will soon be posting reviews for both of their albums.

Until then, you can go check their albums out at Virgin Megastore (City Stars) or you can find your way to get their stuff online.

or you can go take a listen at their MySpace Page right here

and follow them on their Facebook Page right here

(note: Mouled Sidi El Latini can be heard on their Facebook page)

and if you get the chance to see them play live, do not miss it!

Also, if you need to know more about the band you can go read about them on Wikipedia (yes, they are that famous)



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