The time is almost here! We’re dusting off our desert boots and festival gear ahead of the Oshtoora weekend of April 28th to May 2nd, where five fantastic days of live music, art, and film screenings all in the Fayoum desert await. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet and you’re still on the fence about attending, we’re sure these six fun, underground and funk-heavy music acts will have you changing your mind.
Expect Afro beats, bass-heavy and infectious melodies that merge between North African and African folk music, and above all, the cheerful, upbeat vocals of Mr. Nassouli himself. We have no idea what he’s singing about (the Moroccan dialect is lost on us), but our hips definitely understand him, having performed at the festival last year.
More than just the man behind the Raseeni series soundtrack, NeoByrd (aka Wael Alaa) has been making the kind of synth-heavy electronic music that reminds us heavily of growing up in Egypt in the 80s and having to watch Mama Nagwa and Mawaqef we Tara’ef on TV. Never mind. The point is his music is undeniably fun and the kind we definitely want to be dancing to in the open Fayoum air.
This Beirut-based DJ has a sense of humour and an affinity for cheesy Arabic pop tunes, mixed with shaabi melodies and a heavy sharqi beat. You can’t take this music seriously, but you’ll also find yourself involuntarily shaking and swaying, no matter what your stance on Hassan El Asmar is.
Ammar Urabi (Drums and Percussions), Amjad Shahrour (Bass, Guitar & Vocals) and Basel Naouri (Trumpet and Synth/Keys) make up Amman-based trio, Za’ed Na’es; an underground rock band whose melodies are as groovy and soulful as they are dark and moody. If anything, they’ve reaffirmed our theory that Jordan is where it’s at in terms of excellent underground rock music (see El Morabba3, Jadal, Autostrad, etc.).
This Cairo-based DJ trio of Shahir, Amir and Mo – also known as White Nubian, Nitrane and Funky Pharaoh, respectively) have lit up nights at Cairo Jazz Club and other venues with their mix of funk, house music, 80s pop hits and disco, and they’re always smiling whenever we see them. Maybe they’re on a permanent high or maybe it’s their upbeat, easy-to-dance-to music that keeps them happy; whatever it is, their mood is infectious and we think they’d be an excellent night act to dance in the desert to.
By Kalam El Qahaira
Header Photos Courtesy of (Zae’d Na’es on Facebook/NeoByrd on Facebook/Mehdi Nassouli on Facebook/Bilge Öner – Oslo World Music Festival/MAF on Facebook)