Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arab Alternative Music (2): Egypt

Many years (31) after his death, Abdel Halim Hafez’s fame did not lessen. According to daily Al-Hayat , the “Brown nightingale” still smashes the sales records.

Along the old fashion music, a new style has been adopted by the new generation long ago. Since the 90’, the new generation has its own music, precisely called jeel music (jeel meaning generation in Arabic).

Deeply entangled with globalisation and consumption, Arab pop music has been adopted by large and popular audiences, a trend which is not easily accepted by conservative circles.

Nonetheless, pop singers –men and women – do pay their tribute and make “pious recording” when necessary (see previous post). Even religious music comes closer to the new global musical standards (see previous post).

But since a few years, more and more artists gave up the commercial rules of the game. Today, a rich and fertile alternative music has made a real break-out in the musical landscape.

Follow the links to get more information, and musical excerpts : they deserve it!

Wust el Balad (وسط البلد – Center City) and Massar Egbari (مسار إجباري – One Way Street) gather together musicians from all parts of the country, including descents of Nubian immigrants to Cairo, the real melting-pot of the new music.

Thus, mixing jazz sounds and African roots to the Arabic tradition is a characteristic, something which is illustrated by the famous Fathy Salama, founder of Sharkiat band and winner of a Grammy award with Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour.

Egyptian musician do participate in the elaboration of the so-called "Oriental jazz". Listen for instance to Bakash , El-dor el-awel (First Floor), Masar (مسار – Trajectory : oud solo by his leader, Hazem Shahine on this video) and Eftekasat (افتكاسات- Innovations).

Here to read the original and more detailed post in French.

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