"I'm a music composer and founder of a band called Sharqiyat. Our music is similar to gospel music in the West. Gospel is religious music. People like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles have all been influenced by gospel.
Gospel is Christian religious music, mostly black music, sung well and adapted in an authentic style.
Here [in Egypt] Islam is a very old culture dating back 1,400 years. Those who chant the Quran must know the basics of music. Otherwise, they would not be able to chant the Quran correctly. Anyone who has studied this can draw on the expertise of people who have lived down through those 1,400 years.
Arabic music is very rich, with its maqamat set of notes. It shares with jazz music the idea of improvisation.
The experience of a singer or musician can be seen by how he improvises as he moves from one key to another, and then goes back to the first key.
Youssou N'Dour, [the Senegalese singer] came up with the idea of an album on Egypt [...] He wanted to sing Sufi songs from Egypt and Senegal. The 9/11 attacks took place during the making of the album. This delayed it for a long time because we were singing about Islam. It was very difficult to release this album at that time. Eventually it was released and it won a Grammy award.
Kushari is a well-known traditional Egyptian dish. It's a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta and spicy tomato sauce.
I launched a project that is a mixture of oriental and electronic music.
I didn't just select music already existing on other albums. I recorded voices, composed the music and produced this project with other musicians from Paris and America."
Next Music Station airs at the following times GMT each week: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.
Click here for more on the series.
Source: Al Jazeera