Marc Nammour & Lorenzo Bianchi Talk All Things Project 99

Project 99

Project 99 is the result of the collaboration between poet and rapper, Marc Nammour, and music composer, Lorenzo Bianchi. Created as part of the research and creation process of transcultural music at the Royaumont Foundation, the performance takes place in a great Cartesian momentum, where the French administration puts all French residents and nationals born abroad under a ‘99’ number for identification purposes.

With D-CAF just around the corner, Nammour and Bianchi shed light on the fascinating mashup…

How did Project 99 come to be?

Nammour: 99 was the first project that I wanted to create after coming to France. It was borne out of my relationship with Lorenzo after we had worked together in an earlier project. We wanted to do something very different between acoustic and electronic music and, in a way, just define our identity. The name “99” is derived from the fact that the French government places that number at the end of your identification card when you’re not born in France. So for me, this was just a great opportunity to talk about my identity and to just say to everybody that my identity isn’t just one, but multiple. It is not defined by country or borders. It’s much more than that.

What would you say is the best definer for identity then? Is it music for you?

Nammour: My identity can only be defined from a social perspective. If I have one identity that could be understood by everyone, it would be that. I have lots in common with people from Egypt. I could have so many different identities and points of similarities with different people really.

How fluid do you consider music genres?

Bianchi: That was a main thing that we needed to confront from the get-go. When Marc asked me to compose music with him, it was very difficult for me at first as I’m an electronic musician for the most part; and in this project, we’re mostly playing ethnic music from various local traditions. It was a very weird question that we had to face. Our answer was that we didn’t just want to patch some instruments together. Our idea was to make electronic music the glue for everything. We did research and experimented based on that. Our acoustic instruments are plugged to computers, thereby producing music that is very experimental in nature. I don’t think it’s about the type of music as much as it’s about the attitude towards it.

Do you always try to incorporate an international flavor into your music?

Bianchi: We always try. The thing is we didn’t really know each other all that well in the beginning. Every one of us is a great instrumentalist, and then you have me as composer. It was difficult at first to write a score for everyone without knowing their styles really well. We did a lot of improvisations at the beginning to get to know ourselves a bit better. I think that throughout time, everyone managed to find their way and incorporate their background into the music naturally.

How do you feel like your music has progressed since you first came together?

Bianchi: Musically, there’s a unique relationship between acoustic and electronic. So for example, if you have a flute solo, it’s not really a solo, it’s more like a duet between me and the flutist. In the beginning, it was really hard to find that balance, to really find a way to play together because it’s new and very unique. You have to listen very carefully at what comes out of all of your band mates in that sense. Not everyone is used to that.  The formation of the songs hasn’t really changed all that much, but the ease of improvisation has increased exponentially over the past year.

Nammour: That is really getting better and better and better.

Do you always rely on improvisations in your performances?

Nammour: That’s really the idea because we have lots of free parts that we feel links well with us liking to exude our multiple identities. Thus, we have to be free and really play like the moment dictates. It’s like a very exciting and mysterious dangerous. We’re very excited to see how this type of project is translated and pieced together for this performance. It’s a very exciting project and this will be the very first time that we play in a country that mainly doesn’t understand French.

Bianchi: We’re thankfully blessed to have skilled improvisators. It is really about the skill that they have. Egypt isn’t very far for the concepts and music that we play.

What could D-CAF expect from you?

Nammour: That we’re going to do our best just to talk to strangers! That’s the purpose: even if we don’t talk the same language, we have loads of common points.

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Joop Oank on the way to Cairo for the street performance. We can't wait to see the reactions of everyone in public. pic.twitter.com/kjhP…

D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) is Egypt’s first international multi-disciplinary contemporary arts festival. The 6th edition of D-CAF (#DCAF17) will take place over three weeks from the 17th of March to the 8th of April 2017 at multiple sites in Downtown Cairo. D-CAF will include local, regional and international music, theatre, dance, visual arts and film by cutting-edge artists from Egypt, the Arab world, and beyond. In addition to featuring established Downtown cultural spaces and theatres, D-CAF uses non-traditional sites such as historical buildings, storefronts, alleyways, and rooftops as sites for performances, events, and arts installations, with the aim of bringing audiences and performers to engage with the city in a new way. With its diverse and first-rate programming, D-CAF aspires to become one of the most important annual Arab art events by reaching out to a broad spectrum of Egyptian audiences, creating bridges between Arab artists, international curators and programmers, as well as capitalising on Downtown Cairo’s unique cultural, social and architectural heritage. Furthermore, the D-CAF team seeks not just to bring the best in international contemporary culture to Cairo, but also to deliver a highly professional and well-publicised international festival. Follow us on: Instagram: @dcafegypt Twitter: https://twitter.com/DCAFEgypt Press: www.dcafpress.com Blog: www.d-caf.org/blog
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Spotted in downtown Cairo by one of #DCAF17 Super volunteers Islam Tarek
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D-CAF - Downtown Contemporary Arts FestivalWednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 9:09pm
The very special Mostafa abdel aty Photography who has been a main part of D-CAF team with his skilled and dedicated photography since the start of the festival 5 years ago.
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Photos from Mother & Daughter Workshop by Zosia Jo from #DCAF17 on 24 of March 2017
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"We shared memories and secrets. It was a genuine conversation. Unlike many interactive performances, Lookout succeeds in making you feel special. The young performers manage to insinuate an authentic experience every time they interact with the spectators."

Article by Nora Amin in Ahram Online
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ليلى من ليالي الورشة ١
يوم القيامة . مسرحية غنائية من إخراج حسن الجريتلي بتقديم فرقة الورشة. أُقيمت يوم ١٩ مارس على مسرح الفلكي كعرض مُختار في النسخة السادسة لمهرجان دي-كاف ٢٠١٧

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