A new form of Electronic music originated in Egypt has taken over the country; Mahraganat music is basically Egypt's 21st century soundtrack and has swept the nation in a musical frenzy, playing from nearly every speaker in the land. Here are 12 of Egypt's up and coming Shaabi acts.
Shaabi music has been Egypt's folkloric soundtrack for years; a 21st century style of Shaabi music, called Mahragan (festival), is the nation's latest musical export - a new form of Electronic music originating from Egypt's folkloric neighbourhoods. The first Mahragan tracks were made by disgruntled youth with a clear talent, if you may, but without money to get into professional studios; they found other ways to express themselves, mostly through producing on simple DAW's. These amateur producers had no formal training and, in most of their tracks, it showed - the lack of proper mixing and mastering resulted in an intense amount of feedback. Heavy use of the vocoder effect is a characteristic of most Maharagan vocals and is, in our opinion, detrimental for the genre as a whole as it makes most of these songs sound the same. On a brighter note, with a lot of these artists breaking through and making money from performing and signing deals, the quality of this type of music has been steadily improving. Whether you're a fan of Shaabi music or not is irrelevant; Mahragan songs are an Egyptian phenomenon that has travelled to several parts of the world, including certain parts of Europe, and is therefore definitely worth the effort it took to compile this list of established and upcoming artists.
Supposedly the youngest Shaabi singer in the world, or so he claims in one of his songs, Youssef Joe is only seven years old and already has a strong fan base, another one of his claims in the same exact song.
Ahmed is one of the better artists to make it on our list. His more notable tracks - like this one - are produced by 100 Copies. The music itself is mixed and mastered professionally, and the vocal track has no vocoder on it, which proves that he has a good voice since most artists use it to hide their shitty singing voices.
El Dakhlaweya are a band of Shaabi artists from Alexandria. Their vocals are heavily vocoded, and they use the same kick and filtered snare that most Shaabi artists use.
bi. The album is not Shaabi, per se; with a heavy Egyptian Rap influence and an appearance by Abyusif, it takes the album out of the context otherwise suggested by its title.
Islam Chipsy is a freestyle keyboardist and composer; he first started out at folkloric weddings, delivering a different approach to playing the keyboard. A must-see for any keyboard player, the technique he uses to play the instrument is very strange, unlike anything we have ever heard before. Islam is now enjoying his spot under the limelight, gigging at major festivals like D-CAF.
Yehia El Tonsy
This song by Yehia El Tonsy has no vocals at all. It is a much more artistic variation of Shaabi, and is actually really nice - way better than the ill-produced vocoder-laden average.
El Madfa3gia brought nothing special or new to the table - same stuff, different face; same sound, different lyrics. It's still catchy and fun, it's just nothing different. That's not because we don't have an ear for Shaabi music, though; we are actually starting to get into it. It kind of grows on you.
These guys are actually very famous right now. Their song Mafeesh Sahib that brought them into prominence was actually an ad for a milkman and his sons named Awlad Seleem. They commissioned the boys to produce a track promoting their business; the track was so good, and the lyrics so true and profound for many people on different levels, that the song became a nationwide overnight sensation.
Street 3 and Twinz
Street 3 and Twinz are a new act. Their song Enta Me3alem has been seeing widespread success and has made them famous in Egypt and other Arab countries.
Ghandy has seen major attention in the past years, to the point where he is now taking part in movies, singing with famous belly dancers, and performing at live in several occasions.
Yasmine, Sisa, and Sambo
Not a very good act compared to the rest on our list. Their lyrics are not original, the music is nothing new, and their attitude seems unconvincing - looks like a bunch of rich kids trying to be cool and make Mahraganat.
Juba and Hamama
It seems like Juba and Hamama are good at writing lyrics, but their performances in this video clip failed to impress. The music was very basic - boring, even.
Main image courtesy of mashable.com