By Alia Makady
Definition of the word band: “A group of people who have a common interest or purpose”. In the case of ‘Grey Grass’, they are just three folks coming together, to recreate memorable, versatile music and experiment with their skills. Their major defining feature is that they are an acoustic band that plays on light, portable equipment. They certainly don’t fall short on talent either. Malak and Shahir, two of the three elements that form this spontaneous acoustic band, told the Independent their story. It was while they were trying the all-too-famous ‘Omda Tomeyya’ that they spoke to us about their music, and how it came to be what it is today.
Grey Grass started when Malak Makar, the band’s vocalist, got a gig in Bikya book cafe, and called her friend, Shahir Eskander, a percussionist, who got on board. All what they needed was a guitarist, so Shahir consulted his friend, Safi, and Safi recommended Kareem Gamroor. Although Malak and Shahir had their doubts before they saw him in action, to their pleasant surprise, Gamroor was the guitarist they were looking for. From there, they started jamming.
“Whenever someone would call us to collaborate for like a concert or whatever, we would be there” Said Malak. Shahir added that “[this] was actually the driving factor for a while… it seemed like the only thing that would bring us together is that we would have a concert in a week, and we would have to come up with a set list very very quickly and under pressure, but it worked well so far”.
The band members are quite different from each other! Malak, the vocalist, is a twenty year old, Anthropology and History major. Shahir is a twenty-one year old gent, who is majoring in Physics and Music Technology. He plays the percussions, which is amongst the rare instruments anyone can see nowadays. The best way to find nineteen-year-old Kareem is to follow the acoustic guitar sound on campus. There’s an incredibly high possibility that he will be the one guilty for it. They’re not so different from everyone else; but their edge is that they recognize they have a talent, and they are willing to make something unique out of it. “We try to challenge ourselves and think of a song that we think it might not work (as acoustic), and try to turn it into acoustic.” Malak explained.
Grey Grass’s future plan is to have their own original songs. This, however, is quite hard, according to the band members. What makes it more difficult than doing covers is that they must sit down and actually come up with the material themselves. This will require quite some time, because they cannot just go home, and everyone rehearses on their own. It must be a total collaborative project. They also hope that their first original song would be in Arabic, but they recognize how difficult it is to find and achieve the poetic nature of the Arabic music.
The band members also aim to have concerts, where they play the electric guitar, and drum on a normal drum set. However, this will be something occasional, as the band is quite proud of their acoustic nature, where their instruments are light, can be easily carried, and can be performed with anywhere.
The band’s previous performances in Bikya, and their performance for TEDx Youth last November, proved that they were able to attract a large crowd. Their next performance will probably be in mid-April in Bikya. Grey Grass and bands like them are our local wealth of talented, cultured youth. Their skill is certainly worth supporting from all. It is by support of the local community, that talent manages to get a voice.