Cairo Steps to feature Younis and El-Helbawy 'in one last concert'

Eslam Omar , Thursday 15 Aug 2019

Founder of the Egyptian-German ensemble Basem Darwisch speaks to Ahram Online about his upcoming concert that will witness the end of an era for Cairo Steps

Cairo Steps

Egyptian-German ensemble Cairo Steps, founded by composer and oud player Basem Darwisch, will perform on Thursday 22 August at the Alexandria Opera House featuring their frequent Islamic chanter guests Ali El-Helbawy and Ihab Younis for the last time.

"This concert is unique because it will feature El-Helbawy and Younis for the last time," Darwisch told Ahram Online on Thursday explaining that "it will be an honouring, thanking and a farewell concert for the two of them because our next projects will be only instrumental and orchestral and will not include this type of vocal chanting."

While both are Sufi Ibtihal and Mwashah performers who have their individual projects, Yunis and El-Helbawy, who are also being featured by other bands and singers, almost played the same vocal role with Cairo Steps.

Basem Darwisch
Basem Darwisch (Photo: René van der Voorden)

Winners of the German Jazz Award 2018, alongside German band Quadro Nuevo, for the album Flying Carpet, Cairo Steps who gained such an international success with their latest projects performing various concerts in prestigious venues in Germany, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE and other countries, are aiming at change.

"I don't like to stay in one musical comfort zone for more than two or three years. I am always keen to renew and create different projects and I do my best to make each concert unique and never repeat the same concert's programme and always change our repertoire, arrangement and musicians as well," Darwisch added.

The concert follows another appearance in Cairo on Sunday 18 August at the Salah ad-Din Citadel on the opening night of the 28th Citadel Festival for Music and Singing.

Cairo Steps, who frequently feature flutist Ines Abdel-Dayem, who is currently Egypt's culture minister, merges traditional oriental grooves and spiritual chants with modern jazz and classics.

They state that their vision is "crossing cultural, political and religious borders and building bridges between the Occident and the Orient."

The concert is being held among the Cairo Opera House's Summer Festival, currently active in Cairo, Alexandria and Damanhour.

Friday 22 August at 8pm.
Alexandria Opera House's Sayed Darwish Theatre 

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