Almwaya is a musical project that will take you to a world music universe, by walking through a tunnel of electronic beats, synthesizers and experimental sounds. Almwaya involves the two composers Maya Aghniadis and Wael Sami Elkholy. Maya Aghniadis is a music producer and multi-instrumentalist from Lebanon, who currently resides in Greece. As Flugen, she performed in many venues in Lebanon and Europe and she released several albums, blending downtempo electronic beats and soulful melodies. Wael Sami Elkholy grew up in a musical family, born in Dubai between the sand and the smell of the sea; he was raised in Cairo, where he established himself as a well-known singer and actor in the Arab cultural scene at a very young age. After moving to Switzerland, Wael Sami Elkholy released two albums with music on the border between East and West. Maya and Wael met each other for the first time in Switzerland in 2020 and immediately connected on various musical and spiritual levels. When Wael visited Maya in Greece in the spring of 2021, eight unique songs were created within a week: “East and West, deserts and mountains, old and new: we were free to capture the point of no time and of no place”. The resulting 8-track album, entitled “Riding a Camel in the Middle of the Sea”, tells a story that travels through the warm and sweet waters of the Nile, feeds off the Cedars’ infinite energy and reflects the glory of the Alps and the truth of the Mediterranean Sea. As singular as Almwaya’s music are the nostalgic lyrics, sung in a fantasy language that only makes sense through the colors of their tones and vocal frequencies that balance the feminine and the masculine.
JE VEUX JE PEUX
The melodies are playing around with various Arabic scales. It builds up to questioning one’s capabilities, the eternal doubt: can I do what I want to? Then the first wave of confidence comes with the upward vocals and the metal beats and synths. Waves, meaning taking a breath and continuing the ritual, follow until we reach the trance moment. This ritual is reminiscent of a traditional Egyptian one called „Zar“: people used to attend it to liberate their souls from the evil spirits.
Je veux Je peux is Almwaya’s metal Arabic „Zar“. Almwaya share this energy of liberation and wish you all acceptance, confidence and pride.
Wael: It is my third day in Athens with Maya. I woke up with a bass line motive in my head and I shared it with Maya. She opened a session and we started to record. By sunset, we finished the song and we took a walk to the beach. Later we went back to our recording.
Maya and I didn’t understand what we had done when we first listened to our recording. We weren’t aware of the result until then. It was like an explosion of emotions and feelings that I had expressed for a long time: screaming, groaning, growling, glee, anger, trance… Je veux, Je peux; Yes I want and Yes I can: a message which found its path on that day.
We had doubts regarding the whole work and we decided to have another listen later, with fresh ears. We loved the song. We loved how we had liberated our emotions and had expressed them; we felt so confident and proud as this is what we want to communicate with all our listeners: conquer your doubts, trust yourself, express and be proud.
Maya: I had a love and hate relationship while producing this track. Wael woke up one morning and started chanting the bass line randomly, insisting this was the track of the day. Of course, I trusted his sudden excitement and we directly started working.
After Wael’s bass line, I started adding beats and percussions and directly felt the “mental” challenge of the song. An hour later, synths took over and I started sweating and feeling faint. I couldn’t listen to the music anymore and could not touch the mix.
Wael was back from his morning walk and took over the studio to record Vocals and Oud. We decided to take a break, thinking we were recording nonsense, only to discover a few hours later that the track represented absolute freedom of expression. We couldn’t have reached this result if we hadn’t let the divine chaos take control. We directly saw the beauty in the challenge and decided to keep it the mix as it was.