Video: Basem Darwisch's Cairo Steps release new single Café Groppi

Eslam Omar , Wednesday 20 Mar 2019

Darwisch's new composition is called Café Groppi and was inspired by a time 'when Egypt's capital was the centre of the world'

Bassem Darwich

German-Egyptian musical ensemble Cairo Steps released the latest composition by their founder Basem Darwisch, entitled Café Groppi, on Monday.

"Basem Darwisch’s new composition illustrates Café Groppi in Cairo at that time as Cairo was at the centre of the world, and Groppi was at the centre of Cairo," stated the band, which was founded by oud player Darwisch in 2003.

"Café Groppi is an unlikely symbol of continuity and perseverance during times of transition and was the scene in which to be seen, where political aspirations were born, business deals struck, marriages and divorces negotiated. Cafe Groppi in many ways symbolised Egypt itself: it was a cosmopolitan crossroads, a meeting place where new ideas could be vigorously discussed," they added.

Cairo Steps'Cafe’ Groppi LIVE from their concert at the Cairo Opera House. Main Hall 16 December 2018

Arranged by Egyptian pianist Rami Attallah, who is currently one of the most active on the scene, Café Groppi, which was recorded at the band's concert at the Cairo Opera House in December, starts with a long solo accordion by Wael El Sayed before the full groove starts with the bass of Stefan Hergenröder, riq of Hani El Sawaf and percussions of Max Klaas.

The string section consists of Jan Boshra on cello; on violins, Emad Azmy (first), Ahmed Tarek, Shereen Azmy, and Ahmed Kamal; and on viola, Mahmoud Zakaria. The live recording and mixing was made by Mafdy Thabet and the light designed by Yasser Shallan.

"Thanks Cairo Opera House and Yasser Shallan for this great show and thanks to the great Cairo Steps team making this melody so authentic beautiful as I imagined writing the music," Darwisch stated after the launch of the instrumental track.

Cairo Steps in Kuwait
Cairo Steps played their first concert ever in the Gulf, in Kuwait at the third Peace Festival held at Al-Sahaeed Park, , 25 October 2018 (Photo: Eslam Omar)

The winners of the German Jazz Award 2018, alongside German band Quadro Nuevo, for the album Flying Carpet, the group has played concerts in prestigious venues in Germany, Egypt, and recently Kuwait and the UAE.

They will perform in Italy on 29 March at the Accademia d'Egitto in Rome and on 30 March at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

Cairo Steps are conducted by Sebastian Müller-Schrobsdorff and frequently feature Islamic chanter Ihab Yunis, and flutist Ines Abdel-Dayem, currently Egypt's culture minister.

Cairo Steps merges traditional oriental grooves and spiritual chants with modern jazz and classics. They state their vision is "crossing cultural, political and religious borders and building bridges between the Occident and the Orient."

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