Shagara translated as tree from Arabic, is the culmination of a one year-long choir collaboration featuring a Sudanese female choir of seven girls & women between 11-27, an Egyptian volunteer and a Greek singer/artist. The choir, initiated in November 2015 in Cairo, through the Tadamon Community Center (Egyptian Refugee Multicultural Council), was originally formed on a voluntary basis to explore in weekly workshops the way a female foreign body expresses itself through music and language in contemporary Cairo.
Taking influences from traditional Sudanese folk, pop & electronic music, Shagara draws the listener in a tapestry of English & Arabic text that was written and translated together with the choir. This EP unearths that lived experienced by these girls & women, and a shared language emerges. Shagara locates itself in a contemporary moment of social & political flux, and emanates hopes of women’s emancipation. It combines recorded & mastered choral techniques with synths, electronic beats, oud, gambri, percussions, guitars & flutes and densely-layered vocals. This EP starts with a traditional Sudanese song that takes the listener into a dreamy world where children "…like the freshness of a good smelling tree branch everyday getting greener...", could be softly but surely taking over the world.
"whatever will come for me / will come for you all "
Shagara has been developed in partnership with the Tadamon (Egyptian Refugee Multicultural Council) in Maadi, Cairo. This project was originally initiated through a residency with Townhouse Gallery from October to December in 2015. Conceptualized by artist Maria Sideri, the group collaborated in Cairo and composed these four songs under the name Hello World.
After working together until the end of the 2017 summer, followed by a second longer recording and mixing process, Hello World are now proud to release Shagara EP as the outcome of their collaboration.
As an artist and with a strong interest in cultural anthropology I arrived in Egypt to explore the life and times of 1930's avant-garde artist, journalist and feminist thinker Valentine de Saint Point. Saint Point also worked alongside renowned Egyptian feminist Doriya Shaafik whom i discovered in Egypt. During my stay in Cairo, I was inspired to collaborate with a local female community and explore notions of 'the foreign' or 'the outsider''. This process was heavily influenced by my research and relationship to Valentine. Through a continuous body of artistic work that encompasses music, performance and writing, my investigative dialogues with a small part of the Sudanese community of Cairo, brought us to rethink notions of the female foreign body and how it manifests in the rich and complex diversity of this immense cityscape. Through composing this music and the texts with the choir, an empowering space for a young women’s collective emerged. Through sharing our personal experience we found strategies to challenge the presence of female/feminine otherness; making and marking ourselves visible from the hidden neighborhoods of Hadayek in Maadi.
From its inception, through creation, mastering and release, this project to-date has received no financial resource. With your contribution of purchasing the Shagara EP, we will be able to pay artists, technicians and all those involved for their contributions, and continue to work with this choir as an ongoing collaborative process. We will ensure that its members continue to receive workshops, training and further artistic opportunities within the grassroots community.
Supporting this project also supports me to continue developing my artistic practice and understanding of contemporary issues relating to feminism, the foreign body, notions of migrancy, and the issues and experiences facing women whom move across and between cultures.
Hello World would like to continue to create contexts that open up space for conversations and collaborations; catalyze female emancipation, and gently challenge the status quo around representations of the female Sudanese population living in Egypt. Your support of Hello World through purchasing this EP also pledges much welcomed support of the unique positions of young African women. It can contribute positively towards shifting perceptions whilst also celebrating unique talents and their distinctive collective 'voice'.
released January 2, 2018
Shagara it’s the result of a one-year collaborative process with the members of the choir, music producers and musicians between Egypt and Greece.
All songs- except from the traditional Sudanese song لو اعيش زول ليهو قيمة-
are original material composed by Maria Sideri in collaboration with the Hello World Choir and the musicians.
Hello World Choir:
1 Entesar Μamoun Amer
2 Dalia Mamoun Amer
3 Eva Gabriel Wanadil Malik
4 Sabah Gabriel Wanadil Malik
5 Awadya Sabet Wasil Jendo
6 Mahraeal Zakria Potros
7 Samar Jon Agok
8 Eman Abed El Waged Abed El Kareem
9 Abeer Joseph Samuel
10 Sara Ali Dafaalla Maragan
Maria Sideri: vocals, back vocals, acoustic guitar, keys, electronics
Ibrahim Ezz El-Din: acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Ahmed Darwish: cajon
Fady Yanny: percussions, congas and bongos
Mazin Helal: percussions, hang Drum
Ahmed Omran: oud, gambri, flutes
Badz: bass synth for Shagara
Orestes Benekas: bass synth for Hello World
Music written by Maria Sideri
Lyrics hello world: Maria Sideri
Lyrics for little dream: Nour Mustafa Mussa
Lyrics for wake up: Eman Abed El Waged
Lyrics for shagara: Hello World Choir
Produced by Kareem Captan, Peter Ayman & Maria Sideri
Recorded by Mazin Helal
Mixed by Kareem Captan, Peter Ayman & Tasos Korkovelos
Mastered by Anastasios Kokkinidis
Cover album Image: Sixtine Larrieu
Video promo: Dimitris Mouggos
Special thanks to:
JP Kalonji, Dimitris Mouggos, Robbed Groove, Jan George, Bakry Ahmed, Andrew Mitchelson, Melody Nelson, Adham Zidan, Yasmine Ahmed Moataz, Kawthar Younis, Dina Naser, Amado Alfadni, Ashraf Osman, Fatima Saeed (director of Tadamon), Fatima & Bakhita (facilitators), Eman, Ayasha, Sarah (volunteers) and the families and friends of the Hello World Choir.