Saturday , June 19 2021

Egypt is nostalgic for the golden age of the Arabic song

Meanwhile, elsewhere …

On the stage, in a sky blue suit and tie, Ahmad Adel flamboyantly interprets a classic Arabic song, cultivating a romantic nostalgia at a time when Cairo is still the main capital of this type of music. After an introduction into the whistle, under the voice of the audience, he sang a man. "Ya leil," the singer repeats in the despair of the original performer Mohamed Abdel Wahab. "Allah!" They exclaimed spectators as a sign of exaltation in the small room full of the Mamluk architecture of the Arabic Institute of Music in Cairo "Modern songs are running a day or two, a month, a year, and we no longer hear of it while those of Abdel Wahab and Oum Kalsum still exist today, "Ahmad Adele exclaims in scenes.

Until the seventies of the last century, the Egyptian music industry exploded. Oum Kalsoum, Mohammad Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez and others make Cairo a true Hollywood song, attracting talent from across the region. But since the 1990s, the Persian Gulf countries have been cruel to the Egyptian industry, especially the Rotana label owned by Saudi Prince Al Valid bin Talal. And the 2011 revolution that sinks Egypt into political and economic chaos is a blow to the sector. Still, in the streets like the houses, the loud voice of Asmachan or the lazy melodies of Najay al-Sagara always mix with the sound of pop hits.

Ahmad Adele regularly goes on stage to pay tribute to his idols, accompanied by the corpse of the opera in Cairo. "These events are very successful," said Jihan Morsey, director of the Oriental Music Department of this public institution, who was delighted to "keep the Arab identity". In order for the public to "cleanse their ears" from the hellish noise of the capital, it also carries Arab pop stars like Angham, Saber al-Roubaï or Waël Jassar. These are beautiful voices that have a youthful audience. Young people come to see them, to attend parties dedicated to old songs and enjoy, "says Morse.

For its part, the music industry is also targeting young people to revive the heritage. To do this, SaoT al-Qahira, in Arabic, a historic production company released on the internet – despite the financial difficulties and recurring court battles surrounding the copyright on Oum Kalsoum's songs. Known for producing the so-called Oriental Star, Sono Cairo invests, like other manufacturing companies, in technologies with its classical repertoire, including through YouTube contracts and telephony operators. "We have begun digitization and we continue to reach out to young people," said Doa Mamduch, head of the internet services for the record company. In addition, "telescopic shows such as" Arab Idol "and" The Voice "show that people are singing old songs, so everybody starts to search (on the internet) singing this beautiful song," she says.

Published on the Internet by companies or individuals, the black-and-white videos of Egyptian heritage are difficult to compete with many current videos. Young artists from Lebanon, Morocco or the United Arab Emirates attract millions of views on YouTube, usually singing their own dialect and not necessarily going to Cairo. But Egypt also produces new pop, rap, rock or electro-chaebie stars – halfway between folklore and hip-hop, but lured by purists. In addition, a new scene, called alternative (or underground), is developing in the Arab world. In their studio in Cairo, five forty-year-old rock band Massar Egbari takes classics in their own way. Drums, bass and synthesizer accompany the singer who sings Anna Haven (likes me) Sayed Daric. Far from sentimental flights and sympathetic love songs, Massar Egbari describes himself as a meeting between Sayyed Darwich and Pink Floyd.

Source: AFP

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