joelukawski Joe Lukawski

Joe Lukawski is an American filmmaker and freelance journalist. Originally from Indiana, Joe has spent the last four years between Paris and Cairo obtaining his B.A. in Global Communications from the American University of Paris and working for media outlets such as Video Cairo Sat and AFP and on various independant projects ranging from blogging during the Egyptian revolution to architectural and social documentary in Tunis, Fez and Paris. His previous film “Paris Underground” explores a new theory of urban “scenes” proposed by scholars from the University of Chicago as it relates to the underground scene in Paris. A Fulbright scholar to Morocco for 2011-2012, Lukawski produced and directed 'Les eaux cachées,' (Hidden Waters) a documentary about the past present and future of water in one of the world's largest medieval cities.

Collections created

Frame 0004
'Islam Chipsy' Brings Egyptian Electr...
Beirut
By Joe Lukawski
03 Dec 2014

FULLY PRODUCED VIDEO (07:21) -- TEXTLESS AND SUBTITLED VERSIONS AVAILABLE

Egyptian shaaby (pop) music phenomenon Islam Chipsy has begun taking the indie electronic music scene by storm. From the streets of Cairo to international stages, his take on Egyptian wedding-pop, known locally as ‘mahraganat,’ (festival music) combines Arab beats with hardcore drumming and phrenetic electro keyboard melodies that sound like someone's old Nintendo gaming system has been possessed by a flamboyant Egyptian groomsman. Chipsy, however, is a self-taught virtuoso keyboardist and a wonder to watch live.

In December, Islam Chipsy played in Beirut at the Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival while touring in the Middle East and Europe, making stops in France, Germany, Switzerland and in various Scandinavian cities. The global appeal of his music perhaps comes from its proclivity towards all-out partying, however, his stop in Beirut was special.

“People [here] are excited to see us; they have received us well,” he said. “Being in this country is like seeing your brother who wants to know how you are doing. So you feel that you speak with each other through music, not with words.”

Director of the Beirut & Beyond Festival Amani Semaan first heard the young Egyptian artist on YouTube.

“[Lebanese audiences] have heard about him and they know there is something special about him,” she said. “They want to watch him, especially since this kind of music does not exist in Beirut. Islam Chipsy started his career in weddings; he has performed professionally on stage only six or seven times. He only started his professional career effectively only now. Everyone is excited to see him, especially musicians. They are looking forward to discovering something new.”

Hailing from Imbaba, a section of Cairo known for outdoor wedding parties, and also for being very conservative, Chipsy and his two drummers Islam and Khalid have invented just that. Totally improvised, their music is largely the result of Islam Chipsy’s signature playing style, developed while playing in the wedding circuit.

“I started searching and experimenting for two years and without showing anyone what I was doing,” he said. “A friend of mine put me on stage to DJ. It was very weird to have a keyboard on stage without a band. I started this technique as a kind of joke. In weddings people were very crazy. They would take their clothes off and dance. So I went along and used my technique. They responded very well and were on fire. I had a lot of work offers and I started to develop my technique, which became famous.”

However, Islam Chipsy doesn’t chalk up his music to where he and his bandmates come from. Early on, while still playing alongside wedding DJs and beginning to discover just how open people were to new music styles, he was propelled by a wish to see the world.

“Whenever I was asked ‘Why do you do this kind of work?’ I would say that I wish to travel around the world,” he adds. “I didn’t have any papers or anything else but it was a dream that I tried to realize and I succeeded, thanks be to God. When Islam and Khalid participated in this, this gave me more strength and energy and my music was renovated. We were able to create a lot of new music together.”

With two drummers playing loud, full drum sets on stage, and Chipsy in the middle practically beating up his keyboard, the live experience is loud, high-energy, and yet totally danceable. Taking their act from the streets of Imbaba to the stage was a risk for the group, but one that paid off.

“It was rather unusual,” Chipsy said. “Any band needs to have one set of drums, while the rest of the instruments would be tablah or tambourine if it was an oriental band, or you could have a guitar. But to have a keyboard and two sets of drums and be able to accomplish something that a large band cannot was something very difficult. It was a dream but we were able to realize it.”

Media created

Frame 0004
Above Raqqa Frontlines (4K) Highlights
Ayn Issa, Raqqa
By Joe Lukawski
04 Oct 2015

Video shot between October 5 and December 10, 2015.
Drone Footage showing Kurdish YPG forces consolidating positions on the frontline near the Syrian town of Ayn Issa, close to the Islamic State controlled city of Raqqa, and a pit used by ISIS as a mass grave.
In July, 2015, Kurdish forces launched a military campaign to re-take the town of Ayn Issa and other villages held by Islamic State militants.

Frame 0004
Destroyed Syrian Airbase Drone Footag...
Kobane
By Joe Lukawski
04 Oct 2015

Video shot between October 5 and December 10, 2015.
Drone footage showing destroyed vehicles and buildings at a Syrian government air base, destroyed in fighting.

Frame 0004
Kobane Drone Footage Highlights (Trai...
Kobane
By Joe Lukawski
04 Oct 2015

Video shot between October 5 and December 10, 2015.
Drone footage showing reconstruction efforts in the Kurdish city of Kobane, on the Syrian border with Turkey. Workers and machinery remove debris in the areas that were destroyed during intense fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamic State militants. In the outskirts of the city, refugee camps were set up for people who fled Raqqa, the capital of the so called Islamic State.

Frame 0004
Homs B-Roll
Homs
By Joe Lukawski
21 Feb 2016

Non-Exclusive Footage Shot for ICRC - Homs related stories.

Frame 0004
Les eaux cachées [FR SCREENER]
Fez, Morocco
By Joe Lukawski
11 Feb 2015

FR SCREENER

Hidden Waters tells the story of water in Fez, Morocco, the cultural practices surrounding it, and those who aim to save it for future generations. In the medieval medina of Fez, water was once the motor of medieval commerce and industry as well as a source of well-being and luxury for its peoples. Today, as the old hydraulic system falls into disrepair and the river running through Fez is threatened by pollution; inhabitants of the medina depend on modern water sources that become more expensive as each well dries up and each old water channel breaks down. Can Fez’s famous waters be saved?

Frame 0004
Hidden Waters [TEXTLESS]
Fez, Morocco
By Joe Lukawski
01 Mar 2014

Hidden Waters tells the story of water in Fez, Morocco, the cultural practices surrounding it, and those who aim to save it for future generations. In the medieval medina of Fez, water was once the motor of medieval commerce and industry as well as a source of well-being and luxury for its peoples. Today, as the old hydraulic system falls into disrepair and the river running through Fez is threatened by pollution; inhabitants of the medina depend on modern water sources that become more expensive as each well dries up and each old water channel breaks down. Can Fez’s famous waters be saved?

Frame 0004
'Islam Chipsy' Brings Egyptian Electr...
Beirut
By Joe Lukawski
03 Dec 2014

Egyptian shaaby (pop) music phenomenon Islam Chipsy has begun taking the indie electronic music scene by storm. From the streets of Cairo to international stages, his take on Egyptian wedding-pop, known locally as ‘mahraganat,’ (festival music) combines Arab beats with hardcore drumming and phrenetic electro keyboard melodies that sound like someone's old Nintendo gaming system has been possessed by a flamboyant Egyptian groomsman. Chipsy, however, is a self-taught virtuoso keyboardist and a wonder to watch live.

In December, Islam Chipsy played in Beirut at the Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival while touring in the Middle East and Europe, making stops in France, Germany, Switzerland and in various Scandinavian cities. The global appeal of his music perhaps comes from its proclivity towards all-out partying, however, his stop in Beirut was special.

“People [here] are excited to see us; they have received us well,” he said. “Being in this country is like seeing your brother who wants to know how you are doing. So you feel that you speak with each other through music, not with words.”

Director of the Beirut & Beyond Festival Amani Semaan first heard the young Egyptian artist on YouTube.

“[Lebanese audiences] have heard about him and they know there is something special about him,” she said. “They want to watch him, especially since this kind of music does not exist in Beirut. Islam Chipsy started his career in weddings; he has performed professionally on stage only six or seven times. He only started his professional career effectively only now. Everyone is excited to see him, especially musicians. They are looking forward to discovering something new.”

Hailing from Imbaba, a section of Cairo known for outdoor wedding parties, and also for being very conservative, Chipsy and his two drummers Islam and Khalid have invented just that. Totally improvised, their music is largely the result of Islam Chipsy’s signature playing style, developed while playing in the wedding circuit.

“I started searching and experimenting for two years and without showing anyone what I was doing,” he said. “A friend of mine put me on stage to DJ. It was very weird to have a keyboard on stage without a band. I started this technique as a kind of joke. In weddings people were very crazy. They would take their clothes off and dance. So I went along and used my technique. They responded very well and were on fire. I had a lot of work offers and I started to develop my technique, which became famous.”

However, Islam Chipsy doesn’t chalk up his music to where he and his bandmates come from. Early on, while still playing alongside wedding DJs and beginning to discover just how open people were to new music styles, he was propelled by a wish to see the world.

“Whenever I was asked ‘Why do you do this kind of work?’ I would say that I wish to travel around the world,” he adds. “I didn’t have any papers or anything else but it was a dream that I tried to realize and I succeeded, thanks be to God. When Islam and Khalid participated in this, this gave me more strength and energy and my music was renovated. We were able to create a lot of new music together.”

With two drummers playing loud, full drum sets on stage, and Chipsy in the middle practically beating up his keyboard, the live experience is loud, high-energy, and yet totally danceable. Taking their act from the streets of Imbaba to the stage was a risk for the group, but one that paid off.

“It was rather unusual,” Chipsy said. “Any band needs to have one set of drums, while the rest of the instruments would be tablah or tambourine if it was an oriental band, or you could have a guitar. But to have a keyboard and two sets of drums and be able to accomplish something that a large band cannot was something very difficult. It was a dream but we were able to realize it.”

Frame 0004
'Islam Chipsy' Brings Egyptian Electr...
Beirut
By Joe Lukawski
04 Dec 2014

Egyptian 'shaaby' (pop) music phenomenon Islam Chipsy has begun taking the indie electronic music scene by storm. From the streets of Cairo to international stages, his take on Egyptian wedding-pop, known locally as ‘mahraganat,’ (festival music) combines Arab beats with hardcore drumming and phrenetic electro keyboard melodies that sound like someone's old Nintendo gaming system has been possessed by a flamboyant Egyptian groomsman. Chipsy, however, is a self-taught virtuoso keyboardist and a wonder to watch live.

In December, Islam Chipsy played in Beirut at the Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival while touring in the Middle East and Europe, making stops in France, Germany, Switzerland and in various Scandinavian cities. The global appeal of his music perhaps comes from its proclivity towards all-out partying, however, his stop in Beirut was special.

“People [here] are excited to see us; they have received us well,” he said. “Being in this country is like seeing your brother who wants to know how you are doing. So you feel that you speak with each other through music, not with words.”

Frame 0004
'Les eaux cachées' (Hidden Waters) --...
Fez, Morocco
By Joe Lukawski
31 Mar 2012

Trailer (HD) for 'Les eaux cachées' (Hidden Waters), a documentary film about the past, present and future of water in Fez, Morocco.

Directed and Produced by : Joe Lukawski