Fathy Salama | Performance Artist | Egypt

Africa Centre
May 20, 2016
Posted by Wanjiru Koinange
Tags: African Artists Artists In Residency Egypt Fathy Salama Performance art Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre

Fathy Salama is a producer, composer, arranger and pianist. He is the Arab World’s only Grammy Award and BBC Award winner.

Cairo-born Fathy’s first introduction to music was through Arab greats like Om Kalthoum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Farid El Atrash and through occidental classical music such as Bartok and Tchaikovsky. He started playing the piano at the age of six, and by thirteen he was playing gigs in Cairo clubs. Salama went on to study jazz in Egypt and then in the United States with jazz legends like Barry Harris, Hal Galper, Malik Osman, Pat Patrick and Sun Ra. The studies included Jazz scales, harmony, improvisation, Arabic scales, rhythms, improvisation, writing for string sections and writing scores for films. Today, Salama performs extensively with his ensemble Sharkiat (Easterners) and is actively involved in the music field while passing on his knowledge to younger generations.

‘It didn’t affect my life,’ Salama said in a 2012 interview about winning a grammy award. ‘It was never my aim to get a Grammy. My aim is to keep on learning and doing good music. If I win a Grammy, that’s cool.’