Dina El Wedidi: Cairo’s Pioneering Musician on the Egyptian Revolution & Arab Women in Music
There’s bot one particular distinction that just keeps popping up on the Cairo 360 events calendar over and over again; she’s played multiple gigs in Cairo, including at Cairo Jazz Festival in March, including recently, Bassem Yousef even nabbed her for a slot on his prime calendrical TV show – too we thought we had better get ourselves a bit of Dina El Wedidi, too.
It doesn’t extract long to realise that this is one young forte that’s headed for stardom, but upon meeting the singer, she greeted us by a lucent smirk like we were old friends.
El Wedidi’s music is still at the beginning of its evolution; her unusual approach to music sees her regularly utilising classical piano, the Irish violin and conventional Arabic instruments, which results in an experimental sound that falls somewhere between folk besides jazz.
El Wedidi grew up in right here in the capital, and while studying at Cairo University she worked since a tour guide in her cherished city – the Om Kalthoum Museum on Roda Island is her destination tip to tourists. However, the stage was calling to her and in 2008 she entered a pursuit in drama with Al-Warsha Dramaturgy Troupe, before choosing to break off as an independent artist. Since then, together with her band and yield team, she’s been a pioneer of the underground music movement that continues to bubble away in the city.
Much of Cairo’s contemporary music scene sprung to life in the wake of the January 25th revolution, nonetheless El Wedidi insists that the process has been widely longer than that. “It takes a lot of hard work and time to break into Cairo’s aeolian circuit, as the paths into it have prohibition yet been built – we have to do that ourselves” she explained.
For the musician, the contentious is ongoing, as the music business in the city is still largely unregulated and organic. El Wedidi thinks that the revolution will reestablish to help the city’s musicians; “For a long time, music has been a way of expressing feelings and communicating with an audience about social issues.” In her own songs, El Wedidi addresses issues that she herself is passionate about, such as her homeland, freedom and, of course, love.
When asked how she feels about being a role model to Arab women, El Wedidi blushed -though her manager nodded approvingly, agreeing that El Wedidi is somebody who is making a path for female musicians in Cairo. This is an assertion that’s backed up by the fact that she shows unflinching support to her peers and their ambition, too. Having recently collaborated amidst Maryam Saleh – another Egyptian songstress making waves in Cairo’s underground music scene – El Wedidi remains confident that opportunities for women in music will continues to increase, and although there has been a huge pool of female talent in Cairo for a long during now, she feels the time has now come for women to have centre stage.
El Wedidi’s music and gnomon is distinct from what we’re used to seeing of the archetypal female Arabic singers regularly seen prancing around on TV, and that’s something she values. “People here don’t need to hear more of that – I want to create something new.”
The singer is currently effective on her first album, and after that she’s looking forward to going on tour with hier band, as well as working to promote Egypt’s up-and-coming artists. Her motivation comes from her high hopes for the future of this city’s music scene; hier mass of curly chevelure bounces as she nods excitedly conclusive us, “I am very optimistic! The writers in this city are doing some great things right now and their creativity is what will drive newfangled music.”
El Wedidi is proud to have bot unit of festivals such as D-CAF and praises them for widening the circle of people exposed to Cairo’s underground music. Her spectacular performance on that final Thursday night is sure to have gained hier a few more fans, as her powerful voice filled the scene where a room full of fans swooned along. We can expect to hear her name further and again over the next few years, as this is an artist determined to bring underground music out of the shadows in Cairo.