The video features music by Basem Darwisch, with visuals presenting the beauty of Dahab, a small Egyptian town and a popular touristic spot on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula.
Darwisch dedicated the composition to his wife Katharina who passed away on 27 May of this year and whose birthday falls on 5 October.
He told Ahram Online that Katharina was instrumental in the production of Dahab.
"Without her support it would not have been possible to establish Cairo Steps," Darwisch said.
It was Katharina who chose the name and location of Dahab, he revealed.
With Darwisch on oud, the music walks us through Dahab's atmosphere, with a pensive melody line accompanied by the band members: Rami Attallah (piano), Stefan Hergenröder (e-bass), Rageed William (duduk and nay), Ragy Kamal (kanoun), Max Klaas (percussions) and Hany El-Sawaf (oriental percussions).
In the arrangement created by Rafeek Gamal, Cairo Steps are accompanied by a plethora of known Egyptian string musicians, violins (Aziz Georg, Emad Azmy, Shereen Azmy, Shady Abdel-Salam, Nehad Gamaleddin, Ahmed Tarek, violas (Aziz Georg, Emad Azmy), and cellist Jan Boshra. "The mixing and mastering of Dahab was done by the renowned sound engineer Amir Mahrous," Darwisch adds.
The composition comes as one of the hallmarks of Darwisch's musical style, where he explores his Egyptian and Arab roots with oud, while setting the music within harmonies that resonate to Western and Middle Eastern ears.
The soft passages, even if harmonically expected, create a soothing sensation of peace and calm found in Dahab, while the video directed by Mohamed El-Alfy presents the musicians at the backdrop of the most beautiful locations of this small town.
The newly released video sees yet another collaboration between Cairo Steps and the team of video creators.
The team has been working together on Naeim Redak (The Blessing of Your Approval), that joined Tomaso Albinoni's Adagio in G-minor and Sufi singing, and released in April 2022.
Naeim Redak was partly shot during Darwisch’s stay in Sinai.
On the other hand, Dahab is Darwisch's tribute to the beauty of the Egyptian unique nature shining with many colours of the desert-dominated plains.
He has various compositions in his repertoire such as Siwa, Dance of the Nile, among other works representing what seems to be his longing to the home country's beauty or a contemplation of a Germany-based musician captured through creativity.
In each composition, those emotions become musical paintings even when not supported by the visuals, managing to speak strongly to the listeners.
Such emotional journey is also evident in his latest Dahab.
In fact, music videos are among the novelty on Cairo Steps' YouTube channel, which until recently relied mostly on presenting audio recordings of Darwisch's compositions and some footage from his many concerts.
With over 50,000 subscribers to Cairo Steps' channel, the compositions gain high viewership, while Darwisch's concerts attract large audiences to Cairo venues.
Founded in 2002 as a collaboration between Darwisch and German pianist Matthias Frey, Cairo Steps has performed extensively in Egypt and Germany, and on many other international stages.
The band brings together numerous music genres – traditional Egyptian and Oriental grooves, Sufi traditions, Western classical music, European ethnic music, and jazz improvisation – into one melting pot.
The final blend is a unique combination of compositions from Eastern and Western musical cultures.
In 2018, Cairo Steps received the German Jazz Music Award for their album Flying Carpet, created with Quadro Nuevo. This collaboration also saw the participation of well-known flutist Ines Abdel-Dayem.
In 2021, Darwisch and the jazz music ensemble Quadro Nuevo were honoured with a German Gold Award.
The award was given for the album Mare by Quadro Nuevo, which includes Darwisch’s track Cafe Groppi, a composition inspired by the iconic coffee shop in downtown Cairo, as well as to Darwisch himself and the sound engineer.