El-Door El-Awal cuts its first album with Oriental Sounds Project
This week, the seven-member band El-Door El-Awal (The First Floor) celebrated the launch of its first album, “Qarar Izala (Eviction Notice), produced as part of the Oriental Sounds Project. El-Door El-Awal rehearsed for two months, and then band members took four days to record the album live in the studio.
Formed two years ago, the band focused on performing music representing their generation of young independent musicians. In the early days, they used to meet to play music and rehearse at an apartment on the first floor, which inspired them to name their band El-Door El-Awal.
Though it is commonly referred to as a band performing oriental jazz, the band members refuse to be labeled. Our purpose is to produce pure music and we don t usually bear in mind the type of music we play. But of course the general mood of all our musical compositions is the same, Nour Asshour, the band s saxophonist, says.
However, El-Door El-Awal s music as a whole can be classified as instrumental music with an oriental feel to it.
Usually one member comes up with a certain theme, then we meet and work together to elaborate on it till it reaches a complete composition, bass player Ahmed Omar explains.
Percussion – whether oriental instruments like tabla and kakhoun or Western ones like drums and conga – is part and parcel of the nine-track album. Both Mizo and Pop are remarkable on percussion.
Interestingly, in this album, the skillful French-Syrian flute player, Naissam Galal, uses the flute to produce a sound similar to that of the nai (oriental flute), which further enriches the music.
The introduction of the track Blue Hair gives a far eastern impression mixed with traditional jazz. It is quite impressive the way the tunes of saxophone and flute are used interchangeably in this piece.
Sohba (Camaraderie) is another piece based on flamenco music, while “Hawdag has the general atmosphere of oriental jazz.
Rehla (Trip), takes you on a journey through the musical world at a dancing tempo. It is a cheerful piece that gives the impression that a musical conversation has ensued.
Qarar Izala – the title track – has an aggressive tone. It is as if the band members are trying to say they will erase the old notions about experimental music being just incoherent tunes and establish a strong new base of their own.
Alexandria is a piece featuring the oriental qanoun (dulcimer) impressively played by Fady Badr, who also plays keyboard on other tracks. “Qarar Izala is now available in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine in CD format. The current agreement between the band and the Lebanese production company, Incognito, states that they’ll continue being a member in the Oriental Sounds Project and produce an album annually.