US Embassy Celebrates the Sound of East Meets West with ‘Al Hakawateya’ at Cairo Citadel


Seven hundred years ago Saladin’s Citadel served as the prime location that hosted what was then Egypt’s government, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about what one of Cairo’s most important landmarks turned into last Tuesday.


In an effort to forge Egyptian and American cultural connections, the US Embassy organized Al Hakawateya (The Storytellers), a one-of-a-kind event that saw Billboard-charting American Jazz artist Chelsey Green and her band The Green Project working together with two of Egypt’s biggest musicians — folk singer Dina El Wedidi and Grammy Award-winning musician Fathy Salama, as part of the American Music Abroad program.


With the coolest @Fathy Salama

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Upon entering the Citadel on February 28, we felt as if we went back in time when our eyes caught the glorious Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha. As we found a place in the amphitheater at Al Mahka, U.S. Ambassador Stephen Beecroft took the stage to talk about the importance of jazz and how the African American community helped create it.


The illustrious songstress El Wedidi took over the stage shortly after, and oh my. El Wedidi’s voice floated across The Citadel, resounding across the open space and captivating our attention and all of our senses. The strength of her voice, style of her songs, and her stage presence gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.



And then it was time for Chelsey Green and the Green Project. If the stage was the Iron Throne, then Green was Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, as it fit her and her violin perfectly. Green started with one their original songs, until she and her band braved their own rendition of one of Abdel Wahab’s classics. They didn’t stop at that, they then went on and performed jazz remixes of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, “Diamonds” by Rihanna and “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, which was the perfect way to get the crowd moving and singing along.


When Chelsey Green and the Green Project finished their set, the crowd demanded more. Only when El Wedidi and Salama got on stage to reveal that Green and her energetic posse will perform once again did the crowd seemed pleased. El Wedidi and Green then started to perform an original song that fused jazz with Egyptian folklore.We later found out that this piece was produced by none other than Salama. The concert demanded not just to be seen, but experienced.



Chelsey Green and the Green Project came to Egypt and the Citadel as part of American Music Abroad, a program of the U.S. Department of State, that creates connections between American musicians and artists and audiences from around the world.


If you missed Chelsey Green and The Green Project on Tuesday at the Citadel, they shall be performing in Alexandria on March 3rd. The band themselves informed us that they’ll be performing in Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain next.



WE SAID THIS: We cannot wait to find out what AMA has in store for us in the future.