Egyptian independent band Eftekasat celebrates 20th anniversary in concert

Ati Metwaly , Monday 18 Apr 2022

Egyptian independent band Eftekasat celebrated their 20th anniversary with a concert at Room Art Space Garden City on Sunday.

Eftekasat band after their concert at Room Art Space and Cafe, on 17 April 2022 (Photo: Inas Gohar)

Eftekasat performed 10 compositions from three three albums that the band has released over the years — ‘Mouled Sidi El-Latini’ (2006), ‘Dandasha’ (2010), and ‘Gar Shakal’ (2016), which have received two awards.

The band played some of their major hits, such as ‘Third Eye’, ‘Ja Rasta Fa’, ‘Mouled Sidi El-Latini’, ‘Dandasha’, ‘Jazzmina’, ‘Sabr’, and ‘La Belle Algerie.’

The band will be holding two more concerts in Egypt in May to mark their two-decade journey in music and the impact that they created on many musicians.

Founded by Amro Salah in 2002, Eftekasat is one of the most successful and long-living independent bands in Egypt.

As the band’s bio reveals, the idea of the ensemble was a result of Salah’s 10-years of work in music, which eventually led to the birth of Eftekasat and their debut concert in February 2002 in Cairo Jazz Club. 

Over the past few years, Eftekasat’s presence has significantly decreased, however, their history and music keep resonating in listeners’ ears.

Their most recent appearances was in December 2021 during the 13th edition of the Cairo Jazz Festival - a project that was founded by Salah. 

On Sunday, Eftekasat’s line-up included Amro Salah on the keyboard, Mostafa Kerdani on drums, Samer George on bass, Sherif Alaa on guitar, Hany Bedair on percussions, Mohamed Medhat on violin, and Mody Elshafey on nay.

“For Kerdani and Elshafey, this was the first time to play with Eftekasat,” Bedair explained to Ahram Online.

One of Egypt’s leading percussionists, Bedair is among Eftekasat’s founding members and has a passion for the band that was not affected by the passage of time.

He continued by saying that even during rehearsals, Eftekasat’s repertoire was well known to the new members.

“This fact touched me a lot, as it proved that Eftekasat has created an impact on a number of musicians who years later still know the band’s compositions. Mody told me that he always wished to play with Eftekasat,” he added.

Bedair also pointed out that apart from the regular audience that continues to listen to Eftekasat’s albums, there are musicians that are interested in the band’s repertoire and reach out to it as a source for their covers, inspiration, and creative practice.

Indeed, being one of the very first Egyptian independent bands, Eftekasat did not take long to position itself as one of the most followed ensembles.

Apart from the musicians who remained dedicated to the band since its founding to date, there has been a number of renowned names who crossed paths with Eftekasat, including guitarist Ousso Lotfy, drummer Amr Khairy, nay player Hany El Badry, all of whom have contributed to the band’s launch and development.

As Eftekasat’s famed grew — especially in its first decade — the band performed in dozens of concerts in Egypt as well as internationally, touring in the Middle East, Europe, the US, Japan, and India.

They were also featured on two consecutive seasons of the regionally known TV show Saturday Night Live Arabia (SNL) and appeared on numerous other radio and television shows. 

In 2018, the band performed with their old, original line-up in a concert dubbed ‘Eftekasat Reunion’ that was held at El-Sawy Culturewheel.

On 17 May, the band will take to the stage of Alexandria’s French Institute as part of an Écrire la Méditerranée (Writing the Mediterranean) arts festival being held there, and on 19 May they will perform in Cairo Jazz Club — a space that saw Eftekasat’s very first concert 20 years ago.

“The upcoming concerts will probably include a number of compositions we performed at Room Art Space. We might also add a few tracks; we will see. Eftekasat’s repertoire has a lot to choose from,” Bedair clarified.

Following their performances in Egypt, the band will reunite again in September of this year in Italy.

Bedair explained that the frequency of concerts is also linked to the schedules of the band members.

“During the past two decades, a lot has changed. Some band members — including Amro Salah himself — are no longer based in Egypt. However, this does not discourage us. We will continue to perform, even if that means we bring in replacements for some concerts,” Bedair concluded.

Short link: