long interview with omar khorshid as the cover say..

the lebanese magazine al mawed make an interview with omar

and place him on the cover of the issue 786 , 8th december 1977

QUESTION:can i hear your story with the guitar since you became one of the great players ?

OMAR KHORSHID: you may not believe it but in my childhood i did not like the guitar at all, when i became 9 i started music lessons at school, the only instrument i disliked was the guitar , i preferd piano and violin...

Q:hate the guitar !!! for no reason?

OK: no , there is a reason ,i was very slim in my childhood and the guitar was too tall for me i couldn't handle it , with time i changed my opinion to the guitar and started to like it , that's when the rockn'roll music started and elvis songs especially when plays the guitar i found myself ride this wave and kept asking my father to buy me a guitar but he refused..

Q:why the refusal since your father is director of photography,meaning he understand the value of art?

OK: frankly the refusal came mainly from my mother , she thought the guitar will keep me busy from my studies

Q: and did you overcome this refusal ?

OK: yes , i made a band with two friends and went in the music  shops to buy a guitar from my savings and we had hard time to bargin for prices till i convinced a seller to sell me a guitar as low as 12 pounds and i got my first guitar ever...

Q: did the guitar really took you from your studies ?

OK: not at all , the guitar made me attached to stay at home and that's alone made me focus on my studies...

Q: how you improved your hobby till you became professional ?

OK: when i became 13 i started to play at private parties and friends cheer hard for me and i started to feel i am so big and became the greatest player in the world despite i was playing by hearing without reading the notes and without any musical study , till one one night i went to play on stage i saw someone play guitar in a great way and comparing to him i felt small and also saw myself as a weak player without musical knowledge and it was the turning point of my life...

Q: what did you do ?

OK: i went to greek institute for music and joined the guitar section and after a while the masetro of the institute came to me and congratulate me because i was learning in a month what the others learn in 6 months and at 17 i became a teacher in this institute along with my school studies , but...

Q: what happend ?

OK: the institute closed because the mastero[ owner] died and there was no simillar institutes like it , i started to study music by mail from an institute in london and i became aware of orchestration, arrangments and soundtrack scores...

Q: when you started to take guitar from a hobby to make money from it ?

OK: first time i got paid was in a hotel in suez a, the hotel asked me along with a pianist and a drummer to play for 10 days with a daily payment of 5 pounds each, it was a secret from my family but they found out and when i returned to cairo , my mother shouted at me and smashed the guitar , lucky me i had 50 pounds from the hotel i went and bought a new guitar and kept it with a friend , each time i want to play i go to his house...

Q: so you stopped at this point ?

OK: no, i joined the band ' les petits chats ' 3 months after it was formed and started to play with the band offically in omar khyam hotel in cairo[ mariotte hotel in zamalek now] and palstine hotel in alexandria , the group was the top among others in egypt , at this point my father introduced me to composers and singers like oum kalsoum and abdel halim hafez...

Q: halim , how did you meet him?

OK: one summer i was playing with the band in palstine hotel in alex and halim was there listening , i went to his table and he said , you play very good on the guitar omar , do u like to play with oriental orchestra ?

Q: and you said yes of course...

OK: no , the thought of playing with oriental orchestra never came to me before , my taste was jazz music , tom jones-james brown songs , i refused halim offer and told him the the guitar has no major role in oriental orchestra, but halim said you won't lose a thing if you tried , if you successd the guitar will be a basic instrument in the oriental orechstra , i agreed for halim and it did oppose my work with the band ...

Q: what was halim opinion of this experince?

OK: he was happy with the result as i appeard with him on stage and he told baligh hamdy to make the guitar appear well in his music..

Q:so by that time you moved to oriental music and left the band?

OK: honestly i went back to the band but halim told me to focus on the oriental music and forget the band and invited me to join his orchestra to tours outside egypt , i was fascinated about the idea and i apologised to the band and said goodbye to them...

Q: was it a risk then..?

OK: yes , because i wasn't known that much as a guitarist in oriental music , but i became an instant member of halim orchestra and with oum kalsoum , my start in oriental music was with two giants that made me found myself in the arabic music , i did not cage myself in just one band....


omar khorshid interview upon being blacklisted in arab countries

by the arab office of boycott isreal  - october 1980

 after reading the decision of blacklisting that was published in a kuwaiti newspaper that say he made statements in america  to the press he is willing to deal with israel and make concerts in jerusalem and made an acting role in israeli film , omar said ...

it never happend at all ,i did not made any statements to the press from america or met any american journalist for over 20 months now since my return with prisdent sadat after the sign of the peace treat in washington,and acting in israeli film is a complete lie, the only thing that happend 20 month ago that i got a letter from an american -israeli culture center with open invitation to come to israel and preform live there , i handed the invitation to the authorities here in egypt and never replied to it

and omar added with saddness saying ...saudi arabia- kuwait-syria -iraq and qatar blacklisted me and banned my work saying also that i made live appearnce with enrico macias in paris and that was also a lie..

QUESTION: so what you will do now?

OMAR KHORSHISD: i wrote an answer to all these lies and send it to the head of egyptian music syndicate clearing my situation ,though i am a member in the board of the music syndicate also and i must clear myself in front of it and the people who gave me thier trust .

Q: did you send your defence to the boycott office?

OK: i hope the office set a date to hear my defence and i announce that i will quit music if they have one prove aganist me !!

Q:but you will fly to america and australia soon?

OK: that's true, i will play to a million arab in the u.s and will visit 5 cities where communites of lebanese-syrian-egyptian people are , an old friend of mine sponser the tour in u.s and australia  , trips like these is a common thing and done by arab artists especially lebanese...

Q:will you stop your activties after this decsion ?

OK: no and  i am sure i will be clearfied from all this ..

Q: you say that was a set up , who do you accuse?

OK: i can accuse someone could be innocent and leave the real lier, you know success bring enemy  who envy and that's the main thing..

Q: how is your marriage life after the rumors of misunderstanding with your wife dina?

everything is well , our marriage is calm ,this door is closed , i am certain there are people want to ruin my life.

omar managed to cancel this blacklisting decision afterwards .