Joy Town local Time

Amira Noshokaty , Sunday 17 Oct 2021

Last week witnessed the concert of Retro band, celebrating the launch of poet Ahmed Haddad’s latest book of poetry titled ‘Joy Town Local Time.’

(Photo: Anas goda)

Haddad dedicates his new poetry book, published by Al-Shorouk print house 2021, to his long-time friends and founding members of his band Retro music composer Sherif El-Wessaimy, and prominent singers Fatma Adel and Dalia Al-Gendy.

The concert integrated a mélange of poems and songs that reflected the operetta music form, but with a modern twist.

In collaboration with members of renowned Warsha theatre troupe, the performers took on the stage surfing between numerous concepts of true love and joy. Reflecting on the wit and folly of life, the concert delved into familiar situations that highlight a lot of the audience fears and aspirations, but always sides with kindness and resilience, and a high sense of joie de vivre despite all the craze of life.

Karakibak, (Your mess) sung by Dalia El-Gendy and music by Sherif El Weseimy reflects how one can never be too ready for love, that love is acceptance. Dawshet El-Afishat (The noise of banners), composed by Yasser El-Maghrabi, reflects on the essence of empathy and how things are often not what they seem, like a guy who smiles a lot but isn’t really content, like sex workers that we often judge but seldom see how their souls are crushed inside.

Moreover, songs like Shoe lace and Hagat Abita (Trivial matters) were quite unique as they were written, composed and sung by Ahmed Haddad himself.

This concert celebrates the book number 8 of Haddad’s poetry journey that has always put him in a league of his own, where his themes are always unique. He talks about daily life heroes whose super powers are will and kindness. He always sided with little details that define Egyptians and meticulously behold the intangible heritage inside it. Surfing easily between timelines, Haddad’s poems can walk his audience across all the lives that a certain place have witnessed, to reveal the glamor of genuine feelings and wit, those magic ingredients that make some relics of the past so vividly present. This is how he strolls down memory lanes reflecting our own memories in a new light and always moving forward.

“The local Time of Joy Town is the name of a one-act play that I wrote and played in front of Salwa Mohamed Ali in 2014, however after publishing several books of poetry, I reconnected with text, added to it and created my latest book of poetry which is more of a therapeutic personal experience, full of stories and poems,’ Ahmed Haddad told Ahram Online.

Born in 1984, Haddad published his first vernacular book of poetry at the age of 15. El-Ward Elli Beyetlaa (The flowers that bloom) was the first of eight published compilation of poetry books, one of which is Beshweish (Softly) 2014, which was awarded best book of vernacular poetry by the General Egyptian Book Organization.

Haddad’s name have always been affiliated with Egypt’s popular underground and independent music bands such as Fayrouz Karawya's band, the Eskenderella band, the Wust El-Balad Band as well as prominent artists like Yehia Ghannam , Ali El-Haggar, Ahmed El-Haggar and Egypt’s first modern operetta composed by Mounir El-Wesemmy, to be performed at Omman’s National Opera House 2019.  

In 2017 Ahmed Haddad created his own band, named Retro, singing black and white movie songs and all-time favorite classics in addition to his own lyrics.

“To be specific it’s been 17 years since I first performed my work on stage. However I published my first book of poetry 21 years ago,” noted Haddad.

He further reflected on his rich art journey “The battles that I go through in cinema and poetry, all the same, are perhaps the fact that I am not good when it comes with marketing myself. However, being without a marketing strategy, gave room for people to copy my work, one that I have followed through the footsteps of my grandfather Fouad Haddad, and my dad Poet Amin Haddad took it a step further and then I added to it myself, only to be copied by numerous people who are more of marketing campaigns other than real talents,” he noted.

However, Haddad remains optimistic and resilient as his work. “My work is known world-wide, which is a victory in its own, however my biggest learning is to believe in myself and swim against the current until the current changes its way, “he concluded.

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