The very beginning Cairo, Egypt: Lead vocalist Tarek El Borollossy teams up with talented young musician Omar Raafat. Raafat, then an 8th grader, with a passion for the drums begins creating music with Boro. They started jamming to the likes of Dave...
The very beginning Cairo, Egypt: Lead vocalist Tarek El Borollossy teams up with talented young musician Omar Raafat. Raafat, then an 8th grader, with a passion for the drums begins creating music with Boro. They started jamming to the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, and Ben Harper. The chemistry between the two created a great musical vibe, and in 2001 they played DMB’s “All Along the Watch Tower” live for the first time in their High school talent show. From this point onwards they officially formed their band, Digla. Digla started as a cover band and they built a fan base after several gigs all over Cairo. Their biggest performance came in 2003 when they played at the Sawy Cultural Center in Cairo. Their performance was the first of its kind that the Sawy Cultural Center had witnessed: a sold out concet. Digla did the local rock scene a favor, as their performance that night paved the way for other local rock bands in Egypt, soon enough, live concerts were nothing new. Growing in stature, Digla began creating their own music beginning with their first song, “Woman in Black.” Skip a few months and Digla were experimenting with several new tracks. By 2005 the band had recorded numerous original songs at home and wanted to record a demo. Tucked away in a small recording studio in Downtown Cairo, Digla completed their first demo in August 2006, comprising of seven songs and titled Free Your Mind. Boro continues to write Digla’s songs and lyrics; and, in association with Raafat, the core and vision of the songs are brought together. Digla come from varied backgrounds, and the band is an exciting mix of talent and passion. Boro was always infatuated with music, aside from being the lead vocalist of the band, Boro plays the rhythm guitar and the percussions including the “tabla”. Raafat who graduated from the same high school as Boro, discovered his passion for the drums at a very young age. His musical abilities extend to the guitar and keyboards.
Digla: the sound of Acoustic and Rock music by Community times They might be your average group of friends who started jamming together one day, then moved on to covering different songs at local joints. Yet, what separates Digla from most bands on the music...
Digla: the sound of Acoustic and Rock music by Community times They might be your average group of friends who started jamming together one day, then moved on to covering different songs at local joints. Yet, what separates Digla from most bands on the music scene of Cairo is their incredible commitment and profound dedication to their music.
Tarek ‘Boro’ El-Borollossy (vocals and guitar) and Omar Rafaat (drums and keyboard) are the initiators of the band and long time friends, who lived in the same neighborhood of Digla, Maadi. In high school, and a couple of jamming sessions later, the cover band “Disconnected” was formed. Disconnected took on several local gigs, covering songs of Dave Mathews, Pearl Jam and many more. Their biggest gig took place in December 2003 at Al-Sawy Cultural Wheel; the turnout was overwhelming. Fearing that only a few would show up to see a local, unknown band perform, the event organizers contemplated selling tickets at a low price. However, the event hall (that normally hosts 400 people) was filled with 600 screaming fans.
Soon after the Sawy event, Digla was formed (now with the band’s latest addition, bassist Hakim). Tarek and Omar started writing their own material. Due to the fact that each Tarek was studying in Montreal and Omar in Miami, at that time, it took them roughly two years to record their self-produced seven-track demo titled “Free your mind”. Digla, then obtained copyrights in Egypt, as well as, in the United States.
Both Tarek and Omar decided to complete their degrees - a joint decision with their parents before getting on with their careers in music. However, this had a drawback on the band’s progress. With little time to work together (usually during the summer vacation) Digla was, and still is unable to perform on regular basis or do tours.
When Nile FM introduced “Home Grown” (a program aimed at helping local bands getting their music heard) Digla did not hesitate to send two of their tracks. The response was astonishing; Home Grown even asked the band to send more tracks. The songs “Cigarettes” and “Highlights” were played on regular rotation, making Digla the first unsigned band to achieve that. Tarek’s inspiration for writing songs stems from basically anything around him. Like when he wrote Highlights while still living in Montreal; it was stirred by Egypt’s win of the 2006 African Cup.
Something that Digla always recognized is how difficult it is for many aspiring musicians to abandon the typical stable, financially guaranteed careers to focus entirely on music. Regardless, this was a leap that Tarek decided to take. Digla’s passion for music surpasses many of the frustrations and disappointments they encounter daily.
Nevertheless, the future of Digla is somewhat uncertain. Recently, the music industry worldwide has been going through rough times, due to the continuous growth of illegal downloads through the Internet, and record companies have been experiencing remarkable losses leading to the bankruptcy of several record companies. As a result, music artists have been suffering the strain. Adding to this, the extremely difficult situation for an English-singing band to achieve decent success in Egypt. Therefore, Digla’s fan base is mostly foreign.
Still, the Internet offers artists a way to promote themselves independently through personal websites, “MySpace” pages reaches different people worldwide through online music sale. That is what Digla is doing at the moment; They are taking the independent route of promotion through their URL (www.diglamusic.com), iTunes, Amazon and their MySpace (www.myspace.com/diglamusic). Effective in March, the website will offer fans to download both “Cigarettes” and “Highlights” for free.
Although signing with a record company is not on Digla’s mind at the moment, they are keeping their options open. They are also working on manufacturing CDs. In addition to the seven tracks that have been previously recorded, two more tracks titled “Lost in a desert” and “Space Parade” will be released this summer. The band also intends to perform live by the end of the summer in Cairo
Tarek has now earned his degree in economics and has moved back to Egypt. Omar continues to study while working at the upscale “Sanctum Sound” studio in Boston, but the band together is working on new material all the time.