Dalia Ihab Youssef and supporters Jean Kwon, Sherif Fathy Soliman, Heidi Green
Music brings people together, and lyrics make them understand each other’s culture better. There has been a recent rise in the popularity of Fusion music as a type of art that brings different music genres, and sometimes cultures, together. Many artists have explored the potential of building bridges between their culturally-different music using this type of art, but their trials were mainly limited to finding common notes rather than lyrics or narratives. There has not been a serious approach to explore the common topics and lyrics of songs from the East and the West, limiting all East-West fusion projects to being musically interesting but not a tool of profound dialogue and a way to increase mutual curiosity about the other’s culture.
FUSIC is a portmanteau word for ‘Fusion’ and ‘Music’. It is also an acronym for the project’s key objective: Finding Unexpected Songs/stories In Common. It is the music project of Dalia Ihab Younis, an Egyptian singer and songwriter who developed her idea further during the Fellowship. FUSIC uses fusion music (music that combines two or more genres) and lyrics swap to create a mix between English and Arabic songs that tell the same story narrative and are musically ‘linkable’ together. A song from the Arabic and English repertoire will be chosen and its overall theme will be identified. Research will be conducted in the other language to find a narrative match. Dalia will check if the music can be linked and if any lyrics can be swapped. The new patched music track or ‘fusic’ will be recorded by a band or orchestra, and Dalia will record the vocals, potentially in collaboration with other vocalists.
- Creating ‘fusics’ or songs that partially relate to Arabic-and English-speaking audiences and make them eager to explore the music, language and culture of the other to understand the narrative behind this mix
- Inspiring other musicians to collaborate with the project owner to expand the exploration of music heritage in the pursuit of common narratives
Arabic-and English-speaking music lovers and music makers who are interested in exploring the similarities between different cultures through their music heritage.
Phase 1 (complete): Creating Demos to Showcase the Project Idea
During the Fellowship, Dalia was able to fuse 2 songs and record them with the help of her American Fellows, Jean Kwon and Heidi Green (a 2016 Gabr Fellow):
- Eslamy ya Misr (‘Egypt, stay safe’ in Arabic) and ‘America the Beautiful’
- The Egyptian and American anthems
The 2 ‘fusics’ were amateurly recorded using instrumental tracks on Youtube. Only Youssef Sadek (owner of Eslamy Ya misr arrangement) agreed to use his track for the project. Owners of the rest of tracks were contacted but they have not yet given copyright permission for their use.
Phase 2: Finding Sponsors and Collaborators (2 months)
Demos were sent to different entities and persons who might be interested to contribute; including:
- Orchestras and bands willing to play the music of the fusics
- Theaters, opera houses, cultural centers and any venues willing to host a live performance of the project fusics
- Organizations, NGOs and governmental entities interested in funding art projects
- Media production houses willing to produce music videos
Phase 3: Working on 6 songs (6-8 months)
- Researching and creating fusics as per the previously mentioned process
- Writing the music notes and new swapped lyrics
- Vocals and instrumentalists rehearsals (remotely or face-to-face)
Phase 4 (Weeks 29+):
- Initiate rideshare advertising campaign in the United States
- 6 audio-recorded fusics (number subject to change according to budget availability in the project timeframe).
- Live performance of the 6 fusics in Egypt and the U.S. (US performance is subject to budget availability).
Furthering the Foundation’s Mission
FUSIC furthers the Foundation’s mission by promoting greater mutual understanding between the Arabic and English-speaking nations by building musical bridges between both. FUSIC is a great conversation starter between people of different cultures that might lead them to find more in common than they would have found in any other context.