Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hijabi Bassist Rocks Cairo

Before getting up on stage, Shams Ahmed makes sure her hijab and pin are properly in place and checks the guitar straps so they don’t get stuck in her hijab.

Ahmed, 23, English teacher, freelance journalist and bass guitarist is part of a band called MetalloidZ. She formed the band with her friends in Cairo, Egypt.

“We started three years ago,” she said. “We were making the band for fun then we started to [make] it be more professional.”

MetalloidZ has performed at several shows and concerts. The songs are all in English. The band members, with Shams Ahmed playing the bass guitar, also include: Mohammed Anwar, rhythm guitar; Mohammed Shazli, lead guitar; Islam Taha, drummer; Seif Al-Islam, vocalist and Radwa Anwar, keyboardist.

“Most of the songs are life songs. We try to make the songs to have a certain point not just some lyrics,” she said.

Their most recent song is titled “One,” which talks about the thoughts that run through one’s head when praying to God. They composed a total of seven songs and hope to sell an album in the future. Some of their songs are on YouTube.

Ahmed learned to play the guitar when the group started forming the band. She played the violin a long time ago and was inspired to play the bass guitar when her friends told her about the band.

“I never thought I would play bass guitar because it’s not girly at all,” she said.

Wearing hijab (or headscarf) and playing the guitar is an anomaly to many. The keyboardist, Radwa Anwar, also wears hijab, but joined the band recently.

“People ask me, how come you’re veiled and you’re memorizing Qur'an, but at the same time you’re [in a band]. It’s not related,” Ahmed said.

Although her family is supportive for the most part, some a few of her friends criticize her.

“Maybe if God knows what I’m doing is wrong, [then] maybe he would prevent me from doing it or give me any kind of signs,” she said. But I think it’s okay especially because we don’t just write songs, we want to make something with a purpose; not just singing and that’s it. We are all respectable to each other.”

Others think that her being a hijab-wearing guitarist is inspiring.

“The audience finds it pretty much interesting. Even when I talked to the students I teach they were so impressed that I play guitar and wear [hijab] at the same time. They’re like “oh wow you play guitar and wear a veil at the same time.” I gave them a positive way to think about hijab. You don’t have to be narrow-minded and do just little things while wearing hijab.”

Ahmed believes her band is special because she dons hijab. Her friends from London and the U.S. also support her.

“They like the idea that I don’t have to change my life: I don’t have to wear tight clothes and put make up and go crazy with my head to play music. [It’s] very nice to know you’re doing something different than others. Other bands in Egypt have girls-- it’s not special, just like any other band. But we’re special.”

An issue she thinks about is how males might perceive her, since it’s not culturally acceptable for a female, let alone a female wearing hijab, to be in a band. She said that when she gets engaged in the future she will have to think of a way to convince her fiancé to let her continue playing with MetalloidZ.

“I’ll try to convince him by playing him a song,” she said.

this article was written about me by a dear friend of mine aya khalil ^^, thnx aya for making me famous!
here is the link of the article

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