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Charmer from Cairo

Egyptian artiste Hisham Abbas is all for universal music

HE WAS the `Chosen One' on Channel V and MTV Ubharta Sitara as he ruled Asian airwaves, FM and music channels, with his Arabic-Hindi Nari Narain, in 2001. Taking centre stage to perform at the closing ceremony of the 1st Afro Asian Games at the GMC Balayogi Stadium, with his Indian counterparts Remo Fernandez and Hariharan, Hisham Abbas wields as much clout as the latter in West Asia, Africa and the Arab world. A case in point, he was invited by none other than Queen Noor of Jordan to participate in the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts. And at the moment his albums Gowa f Albi and Ya Leila have been rocking discotheques worldwide.

Hisham Abbas, short for Hisham Mohammed Mahmoud Abbas says he "began singing singing since I was eight years old." Having done his engineering from the American University in Cairo (AUC) majoring in Mechanical Engineering, he decided to follow what was close to his heart, music. And his dedication has got him innumerable awards and a trans Arab world fan following. Even during his recent visit to the twin cities, he was mobbed by Saudi Arabian and African players, who were thrilled to see their idol in the flesh.

"Shukraan," was his modest response to frenzy generated. "I have been getting a tremendous response for my music from Indians here as well as those in in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I guess it is the rhythm that gets you. If the tune is catchy, you just start humming it, without caring for words," he says.

Incidentally, he broke into the Indian music in an era when had not not heard of Akbar Sami or Strings.About the song that catapulted him to the super star league in the country Abbas says, "I sang Nari Narain (Arabic, translated My fire is doubled) from Habibi Dah (This is my love) with Jayashree from Chennai doing the Hindi bit. The song and the video were well received.Having travelled across the country, I wanted to showcase this diversity by at least capturing Taj Mahal, the by lanes of Rajasthan and the backwaters of Kerala in the frames." Hisham is equally bemused with the country's cultural diversity, especially performing arts and tries to analyses nuances of music from the two worlds.

"The instruments we use, scales and tones are different. But music can never be different. On the contrary, it is fundamentally similar across the world. Isn't it always said that music is a universal language?" he sums up. Indeed one world, one music. Heres looking forward to hear more from him.


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