Current and future activities

Weekly performances
Every Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a live performance at Makan. On Wednesday Mazaher usually performs, while the groups on Tuesday vary. Concerts usually start at 9.00 PM and last for one and a half to two hours, including a short break where tea and karkade are served. The doors open at 8.30 PM.

Music instruments school
A few years ago ECCA commenced classes and workshops for learning to play folk music instruments (the string rebaba, the reed kawala and arghul, and the percussion tabla) at its Makan headquarters in Cairo and Al-Fayoum’s Tunis village. One year later it established a school for children in the Delta village of Shatanuf. ECCA intends to continue these efforts and develop programs for learning to play all Egyptian folk music instruments with the aid of folk musicians and experts in folk music. It will do so in order to implement this unique cultural mission on a wider scale.

Research is an important part of ECCA’s work and is focused on three areas:

  1. Wind instruments (arghoul, mizmar, settawiyya, kawala), their performers and makers.
    ECCA proposes to produce five archival recordings of these endangered instruments. To encourage and support the transfer of knowledge ECCA will bring the very few remaining skilled performers together with students in a workshop context. In addition these musicians will work together with other musicians in a wide range of musical styles. Finally, ECCA will support the process of making the instruments and produce a film which documents both the lives of the musicians and the making of their instruments.On a recent field trip, ECCA staff found their way to an arghoul maker. The arghoul is an ancient double clarinet characterized by two pipes of unequal length, is almost exclusive to Egypt and can be traced back to Pharaonic times as it is – in exactly the same way as it looks now – depicted on wall paintings of the temples of the third dynasty. Today, the future of the arghoul is at risk as there are no more than three or four players in the whole of Egypt. The discovery of this instrument maker is, therefore, of significant importance to the work of ECCA.
  2. Vocal music of the Delta and Alexandria.
    ECCA proposes to produce one CD and one documentary film from their more than 20 field recordings and continue with fieldwork. It also will continue to present concerts of the ballads and celebratory songs of these regions to general and specialized publics.
  3. Religious vocal music (inshad, madih, zikr, tawashih and religious narratives).
    ECCA proposes to make 20 archival recordings, present 20 concerts to general and specialized publics and produce one CD and one documentary film of this material. On a recent field trip, ECCA staff identified a religious singer who now only performs at weddings. His repertoire is extensive, making him a significant resource. His wife also sings religious music. Nowadays, he is working with the ECCA staff.

International performances
Every year ECCA’s musicians are asked to play on various music festivals and concerts throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, often in multiple formations.