In the past, ECCA has employed numerous activities concerning traditional Egyptian music. These activities include among other things archiving, workshops, research, performances and networking. A short overview is listed below.
Documentation and Archiving
In the field of documentation and archiving, ECCA…
- established a photo archive of musicians;
- recorded and archived more than 25 hours of audio/video material from Upper-Egypt (Nubian Fadjika, Nubian Kenouz , Arab El-‘Uqaylat and Jaafra) and more than 30 hours of audio/video material of the Zar music and chants (the three styles: Sa’idi/Masri, Sudani and Abou El-Gheit);
- received the personal collection of Dr. Mohamed Omran’s field recordings of Gypsy music in Egypt;
- recorded and archived more than 15 hours of audio/video material of wind instrument makers and performers;
- recorded and archived more than 20 hours of religious vocal music;
- recorded and archived more than 20 hours of vocal music of the Delta and Alexandria.
The work of ECCA/Makan has been recognized widely and has been awarded the triennial Lois Ibsen Al Faruqi Price in 2005, as “a well-deserved recognition of [ECCA’s] great efforts in the field of traditional music culture”.
In 2007, Mazaher – one of Makan’s troupes – has been awarded the Anna Lindh Foundation’s special prize for “Music for Intercultural Dialogue”.
More information on ECCA’s awards can be found here.
ECCA has organized many successful residencies and workshops bringing Zar, Sudanese and Nubian musicians together with visiting musicians, such as:
- Reggae artist Toma Sidibé and his band from Côte d’Ivoire;
- World music duo BumCello from France;
- The French and Algerian Gnawa Diffusion group;
- Indian musicians from the Kalakar Trust organization;
- Italian Mediterranean fusion ensemble Banda Piccola Icona;
- Norwegian Sami musician John Sara Jr.;
- Dutch Balkan and Oriental fusion group Arifa
Furthermore one-day dance classes with Austrian-American and Canadian teachers and groups of students from the Swedish Fridhem and Tomelilla colleges were also held. Sometimes, workshops are held in cooperation with other institutes, for example in April 2006, when ECCA cooperated with Hussein Sami from the Music Production Workshop of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Throughout its history, ECCA has conducted and facilitated research on traditional Egyptian music. These research projects include:
- “The Naima al-Masriya Project”, a reconstruction of the work and life of the once famous, but nearly forgotten Egyptian singer Naima al-Masriya, who performed in the region in the first decades of the last century.
- “The Adaptation of Popular Traditional Music at the Scene and the Conservation of Living Heritage in Egypt: Reflections on the Introduction of the Zar Ritual Music in the ECCA Cultural Project”, by Roselyne Burger from the Political Studies Institute of the University of Lyons in France. The original French title is “L’Adaptation des Musiques Traditionnelles Populaires a la Scene et la Conservation du Patrimoine Vivant en Egypte: Reflexion sur l’Introduction de la Musique Rituelle du Zar dans le Projet Culturel de l’ECCA”
- “Thesis on the Zar Cult from an Ethnomusicological Perspective”, by Giuseppina De Angelo from the University of Naples Frederico II in Italy.
Numerous other scholars, students and musicians have contacted ECCA while in Egypt and visited the center for advice, contacts and to use the recording facilities.
Performances and events
The most visible activities of ECCA are of course the music concerts (both at home and abroad), but it’s more than just that. Some highlights:
- Countless musical performances at prestigious institutes such as El Sawy Culture Wheel, the Cairo Opera House, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, but also private parties and a wedding in the Nile Delta that offered an alternative to the usual mainstream music;
- Makan has hosted a wide variety of events, such as a storytelling evening, poetry nights or a used book sale.
- Nass Makan performed at the BabelMed Music Festival in France.
- The Fiesta Del Mar, Alexandria, which was a musical event bringing together Egyptian and European musicians, on the occasion of the launching of the Anna Lindh Foundation;
- Musicians of Makan performed at ‘The Constant Prince’, a 17th century play by Calderon de la Barca in Oxford, England (2006);
- ECCA was featured in a photo exhibition at the Italian Cultural Centre in Cairo;
- Sheikh Sayed El Mougi sang his religious songs at the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, France.
- The Mazaher Ensemble performed at “Voix de Femme” festival in Brussels, Belgium, at the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at the “Frauenmusik Festival” in Germany and at “La Notte della Taranta” Festival in Puglia, Italy;
- The Witty Revolution was a video presentation held at Makan about the poetry and witticism during the January 25 Revolution;
- Musicians of Makan performed at the “Egyptian Mozart” in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia;
- Mawawil played on 11th Bonds of Culture Festival and the Brave Festival in 2010, both in Poland.
In order to carry out her important mission, ECCA stays in touch with many arts organizations, researchers and networks. Most of these organizations can be found in the Portals section of the site, so here is only a short overview:
- Cooperation with the Danish Center for Cultural Development (DCCD), launched in Amman, Jordan (May 2006);
- Membership of the Society for Ethnomusicology, an international US-based institution;
- Participation in meeting for Directors of Independent Spaces in Tangiers organized by the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF) and the International European Theatre Meeting (IETM) in March 2006;
- Cooperation with Prof. Michael Frishkopf, Associate Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology and Multimedia “FolkwaysAlive!” at the University of Alberta, Canada for its archive and research;
- Membership of the Arts Council, a forum for independent arts institutions in Cairo;
- Creation of an e-group: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Cooperation with the British Library Sound Archive.