Egyptian superstar Mohamed Mounir, dubbed “the King,” will feature Grammy-award-winning musician Fathy Salama in his upcoming concert in the North Coast on Thursday, and together they will introduce a selection from their 40 years of smash-hit collaborations.
“I am excited to reunite with Mounir on stage as a guest of honour in his concert after over 30 years since our last performance together, when we played almost a hundred concerts in Egypt and across the Arab world back in the 1980s,” the acclaimed composer, producer and pianist told Ahram Online on Tuesday.
“Mounir is a star who represents a generation. He is not stuck only singing about love like most singers. His selection of topics and deep expressive poetry is different than that of any other,” said Salama, who collaborated with other giants of Egypt's pop scene in the 1980s, including Amr Diab, Ali El-Haggar, Medhat Saleh and Anoshka, before he formed his band Sharkiat, gaining fame in the continental and global jazz scene.
Collaborating in a number of songs in recent decades like in ‘Ya Leila Oudy Tany’, ‘Ya Layaly’, ‘Sah Ya Badah’, the fruitful work between the legendary pair boomed in the early 1980s with the Yehia Khalil Band, which wrote history with successive hit albums like 'Baree', 'Etkallemy' and 'West El-Dayra', following the wide success of ‘Shababeek,’ one of the most significant albums in modern Arab pop.
“The Yehia Khalil Band’s project with Mohamed Mounir was a turning point in Egyptian and Arab modern pop, harmonically and rhythmically. The form fused back then is still recycled to this day,” Salama said.
The concert not only marks the return of Mounir’s performance in the North Coast after almost four years, but also marks Salama’s first performance since November 2020, when he opened the Cairo Jazz Festival with his Sufism vs Modernism concert with Mahmoud El-Tohami.
“Due to COVID-19, I preferred fewer public activities in recent months,” he explained.
The Godfather, as his students like to call him, became a pioneer in the alternative music scene, boosting many currently famous bands and musicians, like Massar Egbari, Cairokee, Sharmoofers, Dina El-Wedidi, Mohamed Mohsen, Hamza Namira, Black Theama and many others, through his workshops and training programmes.
“I am currently developing an oriental electronic project, as well as training a number of musicians privately as group workshop are halted now,” revealed Salama, who won the Grammy Award for best contemporary world music album in 2005 for his collaboration with Senegalese singer and composer Youssou N’Dour for the album 'Egypt.'
Mounir, whose unique vocal timbre and colour paved his way to fame, becoming one of the most beloved musicians in the Arab world, is best known for many compositions inspired by Nubian folklore, though he also has a large pop repertoire.
Recently releasing a few singles like 'Ana Raye' and 'Elly BA'ey Men Sohabi', Mounir’s legacy combines works of many renowned poets including Salah Jahin, Fouad Haddad, Abdel-Rehim Mansour, Sayed Hegab and Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudy.
The performance is taking place at the Roman Theatre in the coastal resort of Marina 2, the same arena that is also hosting a concert by pop singer and star actress Ruby on the same night.