Maya Aghniadis and Wael Sami Elkholhy formed the band Almwaya to create music.
The multi-talented Maya Aghniadis is from Lebanon. Throughout Lebanon and Europe as Flugen, she performed downtempo electronic rhythms with poetic melodies and released numerous CDs.
Growing up in Cairo, Egyptian musician and actor Wael Sami Elkholy quickly became one of the region’s most well-known performers. His two albums after moving to Switzerland were both about music that straddled the eastern and western cultures.
Music and spiritual collaborations between Maya and Wael became inevitable after their first meeting in 2020 in Switzerland. A week later, in Greece, eight distinct songs were written.
The band gladly consented to an interview with MrrrDaisy on Music Arena Gh in support of their new album, “Riding a Camel in the Middle of the Sea.”.
Nile streams, endless Cedars, and the Mediterranean Sea views are all included in Ride a Camel in the Middle of a Sea, an epic tale that takes readers on a journey from Egypt to Europe. Almwaya takes us down a tunnel of electronic rhythms and synthesisers into an ethnic jazz universe.
How long have you been making music and what attracted you to it?
Wael: I’ve been making music since my childhood. I started as a solo singer at the age of 7 and will keep singing until I leave. When I think sincerely, I realise that freedom attracted me to music. Listening to or making music is transcendental; music has no borders.
Maya: I have been connected to music since childhood. I started learning the piano and drums at the age of 10 and never stopped since then. What attracts me the most in music is freedom.
What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
Wael: My first project was a Music Theatre for children where I played the leading role as a singer and actor. It was the first Operetta in the National Theatre for Children in Cairo, and I was seven years old. I have worked since then with numerous celebrities in Egypt in the art scene.
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
Wael: Nature because it always gives vital signs, and it is, for me, the most creative source ever. Animals because they follow their instincts and know how to communicate with nature and between themselves. People with free will and original ideas because they trust, listen and react despite the norms and the limited forms.
Maya: Life. And all the people, fauna and landscapes you meet along the way.
How would you describe your musical style as an artist?
Wael: Borderless, improvisational, and free of genres’ classifications.
Maya: Electronic, Acoustic and Timeless.
How do you think social media has affected the music scene in your country?
Wael: It depends on how we use it. It’s a pity to see how the commercials manipulate the market, but there are always genuine initiatives for independent music which are expanding.
It’s all about the people, the listeners, who want to open their souls and minds, be unique and approach the quality they deserve. On the other hand, artists must be devoted to their paths and be faithful to their artistic decisions.
Maya: I think social media is affecting the world as a whole. But it is also a choice. It is there for a good purpose and new forms of communication and connections but it all depends on each human’s personal intentions.
What streaming sites do you think offer the most value to a band/artists?
Wael: For me, they are all the same. The most valuable for a band or artist is being on a stage, playing live, and connecting with the audience.
The question is how the music reached souls and hearts, not how many seconds have been streamed to gain a number. I’m grateful to play for one person who listens and enjoys.
What are and were some of the challenges you face in your career path?
Wael: To stick to myself and my aesthetics. Sometimes it’s like swimming against the stream. But eventually, there is only one person to satisfy and make him happy and proud, myself. As long as I keep that in mind, I can make everyone around me happy and proud.
Maya: The biggest challenge would be to never let go of your real message and truth. And I feel it applies to all careers as it’s the only way to stay somehow fulfilled and willing to go further; making real changes.
What does your album “Riding a Camel in the Middle of the Sea” mean to you?
Wael: Liberation and authenticity.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you don’t make music?
Wael: Walking in nature, Traveling and meeting people and being connected to them, Cooking, Watching Comics and Scientific documentaries.
Maya: Painting, pyrography, cooking, filming and working in nature …
What do you do aside from this profession?
Wael: Besides my professions as a singer, composer and performer, I’m a vocal coach; I teach singing and Arabic music theories and interpretation techniques. Also, I work as an instructor and artistic consultant for intercultural workshops in schools and cultural crossover projects in social contexts.
What is one message you would give to your fans and followers?
Wael: Accept all your “I”s / selves because they are all you. Trust your soul, keep it pure and follow your deep desires. Spread love where ever you are, and then you are unstoppable.
Maya: Trust in your vision and keep moving towards your truth.