The Arab World’s Only Grammy and BBC Awards Winner
like Om Kalthoum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Farid El Atrash and through occidental classical music such as Bartok and Tchaikovsky. He started playing the piano at the age of six, and by thirteen he was playing gigs in Cairo clubs. Salama went on to study jazz in Egypt and then in the United States with jazz legends like Barry Harris, Hal Galper, Malik Osman, Pat Patrick and Sun Ra. The studies included Jazz scales, harmony, improvisation, Arabic scales, rhythms, improvisation, writing for string sections and writing scores for films.
The following highlights some of Fathy Salama’s major activities. Items highlighted in blue indicate workshops.
For a detailed list of concerts and festivals please proceed to the concerts section below
1980 to 1988: composed and arranged music for Egyptian pop stars like Amr Diab, Mohammed Monir, Aly Al-Haggar, Anoushka…etc.
1989: started his group “Sharkiat”, played numerous concerts in Egypt, Europe, Africa, Japan and Pakistan, touring the world until now.
1991: Fathy Salama’s Sharkiat released their first CD “Camel Dance”.
1991-1993: composed for the Egyptian National Theater.
1994: performed in the Berlin Jazz Festival with the German oud player “Roman Bunka” and ”Malachi Favors” (base player from the Art Ensemble of Chicago). A collaboration that ended up with the CD “Color Me Cairo”.
1994: started the second group “Gouzour”, presenting traditional Arab rhythms. They toured Egypt, Italy and France (Festival Les Allumées de Nantes).
1996: Fathy Salama’s Sharkiat released their second CD “Camel Road”.
1996: created for the Cairo Opera House a show with “Manuel de Paula” (vocals) and “Nino Carrion” (guitar) to explore the relationship between Flamenco and Arab music.
1997: Sharkiat worked with a rock group from Switzerland “The Maniacs”. They released the album “Don’t Climb the Pyramids” and toured Europe and Egypt.
1998: Algerian female singer and dancer “Karima Nayt” started working with Sharkiat. They toured Europe, Pakistan, Algeria and Egypt. A CD for Karima has been recorded to be released soon.
1998: gave a workshop at the “Rhythmic Music Conservatory” in Copenhagen.
2000: won two first prizes in the Cairo International Film Festival for the soundtracks of “Fallen Angels Paradise” and “Signs of April”.
2001: created the first multimedia show “Kouchari” using electronic music, Egyptian traditional rhythms and visuals. Salama toured Europe with the project. A couple of tunes were released on Vinyl “Maqsoom & Mashy El Hal”.
2002: started a workshop on “Rango” and “Zar” and had several performances, last in Essaouira Festival in 2005.
2002: worked with the Danish composer “Lars Bo” to produce a big show “Oriental Cut”, the project toured Scandinavia.
2004: “Egypt” was released, a Grammy and BBC Awards winner for “Best Contemporary World Music Album” in 2004. “Egypt” is collaboration between Salama and Senegalese singer “Youssou N’Dour”. Salama toured with the project throughout Africa, Europe, and the United States.
2004: collaborated with Italian composer “Eugenio Bennato” to work on “Taranta” music from the South of Italy. They performed in Egypt and toured Italy and Algeria.
2005: collaborated with the internationally renowned Norwegian Jazz Saxophone player “Trygve Seim”. Salama joined the “Source of Christmas” project which includes 70 musicians from Norway and guests from other countries to reproduce Christmas carols in an avant garde way using Jazz, Classical and Oriental vocabulary. Together they played in Egypt and toured Norway. The collaboration still continues through yearly concerts. Salama gave various workshops during his tours in Norway at different Conservatories.
2005 – 2006: “Remix” a music workshop held twice in collaboration with “Al-Mawred Culture Center”. Each “Remix” gathered around 30 singers and musicians from all over the Arab world for a week, ending up their meeting with several concerts in Alexandria and Cairo.
2005 – 2006: held a music workshop four times in the “Jesuit Culture Center” in Alexandria. Each workshop was held over 5 days with an average of 30 singers and musicians. The workshops ended with concerts with the musicians.
2007: held a music workshop twice in Cairo in collaboration with “Emad Eddin Studio” and “Ford Foundation”. Each workshop was held over 10 days with an average of 40 singers and musicians.
2008: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim”.
2008: held 3 music workshops in Cairo in collaboration with the Embassy of Netherlands.
2008: composed the music score for “Al-Mosafer” film staring “Omar Al-Sharif” and directed by “Ahmed Maher”. The film is the first long feature funded by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. “Al-Mosafer” participated in the official competition of the “Venice Film Festival 2009”.
2008: artistic advisor of the Jazz Factory, the first international Jazz Festival in Egypt. The festival is funded and arranged by the EU, several European embassies and “Al-Mawred” culture center. The festival coincided with “Remix”, the annual music workshop for young Arab musicians, in which Fathy Salama instructs.
2009: arranged 3 songs for the world famous singer “Cesaria Evora” (Grammy winner and 12 Golden records).
2009: played in Cairo with the world famous guitarist “Al Di Meola”.
2009: held a music workshop in collaboration with “Al-Mawred Culture Center” and the Norwegian Embassy in Cairo. Renowned Norwegian Jazz musicians participated in the workshop: Trygve Seim (saxophone), Lars Andreas (tuba) and Frode Halte (guitar). The workshop was held over 10 days with 25 applicants and ended with two concerts featuring their works.
2010: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim” and the Source of Christmas Project (2 concerts in The National Theatre in Oslo)
2010: held a music workshop with craftsmen (carpenters, blacksmiths, barbers….etc) in collaboration with Jesuit Culture Center in Cairo and funded by the Dutch Embassy in Cairo. The workshop ended with two performances.
2010: held a music workshop in collaboration with “Al-Mawred Culture Center” and the Norwegian Embassy in Cairo. The renowned Norwegian Jazz Band “The Source” participated in the workshop. The workshop was held over 10 days with 25 applicants and ended with two concerts featuring their works.
2011: 4 Concerts in Cairo Opera featuring a new project with the Young Egyptian Revolution Poets.
2011: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim” and the Source of Summer Project (2 concerts in The National Theatre in Oslo)
2011: Remix 2011 held a music workshop in collaboration with “Al-Mawred Culture Center” and the Aga Khan Trust for culture. Remix took place in Aswan, Egypt for 12 days featuring 14 musicians from the Arab region and Central Asia ending with 2 concerts.
2011: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim” and the Source of Christmas Project (4 concerts in The Cosmopolite Theater Oslo)
2012: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim” and the Source of summer and Christmas Projects in the National Theatre in Oslo.
2013: held a continuous music workshop in collaboration with Cairo Opera for young musicians.
2014: USA tour and workshops in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago from April to end of May.
2014: continues his project with Norwegian saxophonist “Trygve Seim” and the Source of summer and Christmas Projects in Oslo (4 concerts in The Cosmopolite Theater Oslo).