This week, I am in Rabat, Morocco, covering the huge Mawazine music festival. Everyone from Kanye West and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) to Salif Keita and Youssou N’Dour, to top Arab classical singers, and all sorts of Moroccan acts are performing on 8 urban stages over the course of 10 days. It’s quite amazing. But I must say, the most powerful thing I have seen is a young rock band from Casablanca called Hoba Hoba Spirit. They had a crowd in the tens of thousands, almost all under 25 years old, shouting and moshing to hard-edged rock with Moroccan rhythms and very clever, edgy political lyrics. This is the face of North African youth—engaged, passionate, aggrieved, but more joyous and hopeful than angry. This band has made its reputation on the internet and using social media—not via CDs, radio play, or television. Seeing this, I understood how music—especially local rock and hip hop—genuinely has paved the way for the Arab Spring. This is not the music of a movement. In a very real sense, the music IS the movement. And, ultimately, the story we will be investigating and revealing in Egypt is all about that: how music makes history, in the past, but, especially, in the extraordinary present we are now witnessing.
I am more convinced than ever that Afropop is working on one of the most important stories going on in the world today. Please help us to make our Egypt project a success. Give whatever you can, and know that we will use every dollar wisely!
Click HERE to see video and read more about our historic project.