Everyone has a story; I can help tell it…
It’s a simple and enjoyable process whereby we sit down together or speak over the phone/online in order for me to get to the heart of the tale you want to tell. I then write it up and fine-tune it with you. The story can be as long or as short as you like, but typically it would be around five hundred words or so – long enough to allow your story to unfold; short enough to live happily on one page and be enjoyed from beginning to end in a matter of minutes.
Take, for example, darbuka virtuoso Sabrine el Hossamy’s story. Sabrine wanted to tell her story to help launch her album Dum tak. Here it is…
Dum tak taka taka dum tak…
For the best part of a decade, the lives of Sabrine el Hossamy and of the darbuka have been intertwined.
The touch of love
In the winter of 1999 Sabrine went with some musician friends to Sinai. It was there on the beach, in the cold, around the fire that Sabrine saw up close for the first time the darbuka. “The feeling I got that day was very intense – this attraction. So a week later when I got back to Cairo straightaway I bought two darbuka. This is how it started.”
Sabrine searched long and hard for someone to help her learn how to play. “Then finally I met, in my eyes, probably the best percussionist ever: Misirli Ahmet. A virtuoso, he invented the technique of playing the darbuka with your fingers, not your hand. Anybody can play with their hands, but the technique I learned and am playing now – the finger technique – takes the music to a much higher level, with an infinite number of options of which fingers to use in which space of the drum to create which kind of sound.”
It’s a feeling
Sabrine describes her album, Dum tak, as “A compilation of darbuka manifestations in different forms. The common link is the darbuka, and a feeling.” While working on her album, Sabrine’s reputation grew along with her live performances. From touring Turkey with Anadole Atache and Moustafa Erdwan to jamming with DJs in Batofar, Paris – Sabrine is the one people turn to for her own unique take on the darbuka.
Finding melody in and around the rhythm
As Sabrine’s relationship with the darbuka has deepened so her playing has moved a long way beyond mere beats into music. “I am drawn to the melody that comes from the beats – the variations and details, the voice that sings from within when my darbuka is neither too tight nor too loose and my fingers dancing. The melody in and around the rhythm.”
Follow your heart
Sabrine’s name in Arabic means patience. To which you could happily add determination and courage. Ten years ago, Sabrine took the brave step to give up a guaranteed life in favor of the pursuit of an intense feeling. She followed that feeling from Sinai to Barcelona to Istanbul for a number of years before diverting much of her time to building a highly successful career in commerce. But the darbuka stayed with her and in 2009 she once again gave up the job, money and future that was there for her in favor of devoting herself fully to her music.
A decade on from that fateful day in Sinai, Sabrine’s life is a world away from the one that had been laid out for her, and a whole lot better for it. “I see all these people with incredible talent thinking it’s too late. It’s not true!”
Today, Sabrine’s heart and the heart of her darbuka beat as one: dum tak taka taka dum tak…
Tomorrow, who knows where the two of them will go, but one thing’s for certain – they will follow their heart and touch the lives of everyone who hears them along the way.