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  • January at Cairo Jazz Club: Andromida’s Debut, Basheer’s New Album, ‘Freshest Crops’ & More

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    And so here we are at the dawn of a new year, with new beginnings, new dreams and new goals – but more importantly, of course, we have a fresh set of gigs and parties at Cairo Jazz Club that offer something for everyone. Fancy some seasonal and festive jazz? Step right up. How about some reggae rousers from up-north? Check.  Or maybe a bossa nova beauty from Morocco? There’s even some classic rock up for the taking – just scroll down and all shall be revealed.

    The Riff Band (Sunday 7)

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    Led by the only Egyptian who looks good in a pork-pie hat, Ahmed Harfoush, there are few acts in the country that are as adaptable and versatile when it comes to getting festive. But while the Cairo crooner is the face of the jazz group, he’s in good company; the likes of piano pro, Ahsraf Rizk, bad-boy bassist, Same George, and Trojan of trumpeting, Mitko Dimitrov, are just some of the names that make up the ranks of the band, with this most musical of cocktails set to serve up a suitably seasonal Christmas treat.

    Sefsafa & Hawas (Saturday 13)

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    Hawas are, of course, no strangers to the CJC faithful, having become a regular fixture of the bar’s live music nights. ‘Contemporary Arabic’ is one of the more superfluous phrases that many like to attach to local bands, but Hawas have taken the label and made it their own in fusing their eclectic influences – everyone from Pink Floyd, to Duke Ellington, to Sting, and carved a unique sound that stays faithful to their Cairo roots. Joining them on the night, though, is a band that is set to make their CJC debut: Sefsafa. Hailing from The Pearl of the Mediterranean, Alexandria, this peace-pushing fivesome fuse traditional Arabic music with reggae in creating a soft, bouncy, almost tropical sound – but they’re not afraid to change things up a little from time to time.

    Sara Moulblad (Sunday 14)

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    ‘World Music’ is sort-of a non-genre that rarely speaks of the artist onto which it’s used; with Sara Moulblad, though, it works. The Moroccan jazz singer is, of course, influenced by the greats of her genre of choice, but her work also touches on jazz’s history in France and Europe, as well as the bossa nova of Brazil, which fuses classical jazz with blues, choro and samba. Joining her on stage are too local jazz connoisseurs in the form of bassist, Andre Segone, and guitarist, Zeyad Hisham.

    Freshest Crops ft. FrogMoose, Sotusura & Safi (Wednesday 17)

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    One of CJC’s newest editions to Wednesday nights is a platform for only the freshest of the freshest. The idea behind the aptly-named Freshest Crops works twofold; it aims to give up-and-coming talents a chance to strut their stuff, but also to give established acts the chance to let loose and do something a little different to their usual. With January’s edition we have both; the hilariously-named FrogMoose (he might be French-Canadian or something, who knows) as well as French-Palestinian hip-hop-honcho, Sotusura and the always unpredictable Safi.

    Andromida (Thursday 18)

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    Egypt’s oldest progressive rock band finally meets Cairo’s most enduring live music venue. Despite being around since 1987, Pink Floyd loyalists, Andromida, have never, ever, ever, ever played at Cairo Jazz Club. But some 30 years after Amr Hassan, Sherif El Sharqawi, Ahmed Anwar and Ally Salem came together in the name of rock and roll, they’re still going strong and finding new fans.

    Basheer Album Release (Saturday 20)

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    As one of the bar’s favourite performers, Basheer is basically part of the CJC family now – his end-of-the-weekend-wind-down gigs on Saturdays have become a monthly essential. This time round, though, there’s reason to celebrate, with the Aswan native having just released new album, E7thr Helaakak, which has been all over the radio over the last two weeks – and the CJC collective are going to get a hefty serving of his new material live.

    AfriCairo ft. Asia Madani (Tuesday 23)

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    It’s easy to dismiss music’s purported power. Phrases like ‘creating dialogue’ and ‘opening channels of communication’ through music do, quite often, get the old eyes rolling. But with AfriCairo, that’s what local musician, Ahmed Omar, has been working towards – and achieving. Having started in 2012, Omar and his cohorts have utilised music as one of the world’s few common languages; more significantly, though, they’re just awfully good – we dare anyone not to fall into a toe-tapping sway when seeing them live. Throw in Sudanese songstress, Asia Madani, into the mix and you have a doozy of a night of music.

    This is just a snapshot of some of the events taking place at Cairo Jazz Club this month; stay up-to-date on the Cairo Jazz Club Facebook page.
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    By Kalam El Qahaira

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