Cairo Celebration Choir


Aghany Bel Araby Project

Traditional Arabic Songs with a twist!

The first Aghani bel Arabi (Songs in Arabic) concert in 2008 met with a remarkable reception by the audience. The exciting line-up of Arabic songs features compositions by Sayed Darwish, as well as Gamal Abdel Reheim and Awatef Abdel Kerim.

“People can come and see what can be done with our [Egyptian] music. It is not just divided into pop or our oriental heritage, there’s so much more to it than that.” Nagui commented. “We have academic composers and international standard music, but sadly they are not supported by our cultural institutions. For example, Gamal Abdel Reheim often had to debut his work in Berlin because our own opera house was not interested in producing his work. It really saddens me that so few people know of the work of these composers, unless they happen to be specialists. Aghani bel Arabi is a homage to their work,” he maintains.

Nagui is to be lauded for his efforts to bring to light the hidden treasures of the Egyptian music scene and for the arduous task of arranging these works, especially those of Sayed Darwish.

“Rearranging Darwish’s music was very special to me because he actually wanted to learn about harmony, through being exposed to classical Western music through his foreign friends and he had even booked a place on a ship to Italy in order to go and study it, but sadly he died before he could go. I am sure had he gone, Egyptian music today would be very different. In a way I feel like I’m fulfilling his dream,” Nagui concluded.