Merry Christmas: Poetry from Mido Zoheir, for ‘Lekhfa’

There are quite a few songs in the album that really get to me, but in a beautifully inspiring way somehow. I don’t know how he does that. Tamer Abu Ghazaleh: Maryam has all of Mido’s work, both published and unpublished, and she’s always worked with his texts, perhaps he’s the one poet she’s used texts from the most. Maryam from the beginning was experimenting vocally using Mido’s texts. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading…‹ Sunday Submissions: ‘Copper Nickel Looking for Translation Folios in Poetry and ProseCategories: Egypt, poetry I think only five of my songs don’t feature his texts. Maurice Louca: Whilst with most of the songs the melody came first and then we would find the right text for it, from the onset the one element we all agreed on is that we would be working with Mido Zoheir’s texts. Egyptian poet Mido Zoheir is known for his collection of poems Ho’net Hawa, as well as Azrak,   which was performed by actor Ahmed Helmy in the TV series   Al Gama’a. Maryam Saleh: It’s almost second nature to me, working with Mido’s texts. We had to flesh out the rhythms in quite a few songs to maintain the effect in each verse for example. ML: In other songs, decisions on whether Maryam & Tamer would sing as one voice or two voices, those were based on the words. TAG: So although the starting point for every song was a melody, then we would settle on the text that works with it, the texts from then on had   huge influence on the songs. Mido has this knack for articulating what we all feel with such wrenching simplicity, yet his choice of words makes the emotions you feel quite complex and multidimensional. There is sadness in the words yet the music is not sad. His humor and the way he juxtaposes the words are so very Egyptian – take “te’ban ‘ala kol sellem, ‘aqrab fe kol sa’a (a snake on every ladder and a hand on every clock)” as an example – he embodies a certain state of being, and he’s not actually depressing. TAG: For us, Mido is the best poet of his generation. When you look closer into his texts, he uses everyday language, says things the way we would say them in casual conversations, yet he pens them as poetry, he’s a genius! Wi’am al-Tamami

Those interested in buying the album can find it for sale online. Courtesy of the band, we have:
Track 5, “Music and Fear” (Mazzika w Khof), by   Mido Zoheir, trans. I think what gives the album such an Egyptian sound is Mido’s work more than any other component in the music. MS: He’s not nihilistic at all, there is a living part of him that wants to be happy, so letting it all out in poetry is a way of coping. It’s in most of his work, this sensibility, in the songs that Maryam sang from him. On the surface, you might think it’s about the dire reality and all, but somehow his texts don’t bring you down. ML: Mido is of his time and place. So a lot of the dramatic and musical decisions were based on the words. TAG: When we listen back to the foundational ideas in a song like Teskar Tebky (Drunk, you weep), the major contrast between the words and the music. With him, it’s such a spontaneous outpouring of poems, he doesn’t think about them or structure them, they just come to him, with abundance. I usually check what Mido is writing or has just written and take it from there, only when he has nothing at all, do I go looking for other texts or write my own. He is fascinating, quite talented. ML: Essentially Mido is the fourth member in this collaboration. More recently, they have appeared in the album   Lekhfa,   released this fall:
The album was the project of Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca, and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, who talked about the album with Sarah Al Miniawy as it was being released:

All the songs in this album feature texts by Mido Zoheir, why did you choose to work with his poems only? He also has this dark comedy edge running through all of his texts. He’s not nihilistic.