Fri, 13 Sep 2013 - 12:18 GMT
Fri, 13 Sep 2013 - 12:18 GMT
|With a growing fan base and an exquisite performance of beating drums and fire spinning, the Digital Monkeys are on their way to the top. By Mariya Petkova|
| “Whoosh-whoosh, boom-boom-boom, whoosh-whoosh, boom-boom-boom,” the desert resounds. It’s like the world is coming to an end, or maybe it’s just beginning. The monkeys are out of control again! African drums, dance trances, naked bodies, fire spinning, burning skin…No, this is not something out of an African folktale, it is a transcending performance by the supercool ‘Digital Monkeys’ band. The monkeys Safi, Seifo and H formed their band over a year ago, while jamming on the beach one day and ever since that day, their popularity has grown from strength to strength. They play two Eastern African drums and one traditional Egyptian tabla to electronic music and show off their keen fire dancing skills, which involves juggling and twirling batons lit on fire.
“There’s nothing like the sound of your first spin,” says Safi, one member of the Digital Monkeys.
He and his two band mates don’t hide the fact that they are supercool at all. “Burns, yeah we have a few. I have one major one here, but you can’t see it anymore,” the other monkey, Seifo, says casually. “I had the poi (a flexible material in the form of a plaited cord that is held in the hand and swung in circular patterns) wrapped around my arm and then it locked. And it was on fire!” brags H, the third monkey.
“And you always have the problem with the hair. Every performance I smell something,” adds Seifo.To minimize fire hazards, the Digital Monkeys go shirtless. “The fire looks very nice with your body and it’s less of a fire hazard. If your clothes catch on fire, they’d burn you more,” Seifo says. To keep people safe from the heat, the Digital Monkeys usually draw a safety circle around themselves that members of the audience are not supposed to cross. It doesn’t necessarily work, though. H recalls a traumatic experience in which a girl, hypnotized by the drum beat and the fire, entered his circle, wanting to dance with him. She ended up with a chunk of hair burned off, which did not deter her from trying again. “Fire, drums – it’s all very primordial,” explains Safi. People go into a state of trance because of his drumming and fire spinning. “It’s nice to be able to deliver that to people, to put them in that state. It’s a blessing,” he adds. Beating their drums, the Digital Monkeys have jammed with numerous local DJs, including DJ Samba, DJ TKat, DJ Amir Sharara, DJ Tito, Masters of Funk and DJ Nunez. Spinning their fire and beating their drums, they’ve shook things up for friends and fans in the capital, on the North Coast, Sinai and in El Gouna. The Digital Monkeys are by no means organized about their performances. “It’s always improvisation. That’s one of the nicest things about it. It’s always fresh,” says Seifo. According to the band, because their performances are improvised, they do not plan on releasing an album. Safi described an improvised session with a fellow musician at the Cairo Jazz Club one night: “Eeeh. It was cool because what happened that night was that we were playing and this guy walks up and he was like, ‘Yo, I have my trumpet in my car.” “Things should just hit naturally. A lot of guys have tried to get us more organized where we would know the songs playlist by playlist, but that just hasn’t worked,” says H. You just can’t get the Digital Monkeys to march to the beat of someone else’s drum. You just end up marching into a trance to their unstoppable, fiery beat.
Leave a Comment