Egypt 2: Cairo: Hollywood of the Middle East - By the mid 20th century, Cairo had become the unrivaled center for music and film production in the Middle East. Producers, writers, composers, actors, musicians, star singers, and creators of every stripe flocked here to take part in the city's fervent, international, progressive artistic milieu. This was the heyday of the diva Umm Kulthum, and the beloved singer and composer Abdel Halim Hafez. But events of the 50s and 60s signaled an inward turn for Egypt and Cairo. The 70s saw the rise of a rougher, more street-wise music--sha'bi--and films began to lose their edge. This program looks back at the rise and decline of a media capital, and points to possible futures in an era of reinvention and change. Music by Farid el Atrache, Umm Kulthum, Ahmed Adeweya, Hakim, and much more!
Egypt 3: Cairo Underground - Egypt’s revolution has brought much to light, including a lot of music that’s been percolating in hidden corners there, largely ignored by nearly all broadcast and print media. It turns out a musical revolution has been going on in Egypt well before the political uprisings of 2011. On this program, we hear music that either was or still is “underground.” We meet Cairo rock musicians from the band Wust Al Balad, and also from widely stigmatized heavy metal musicians who appeal to a small, passionate, and surprisingly wholesome audience. We also hear experimental music by composers out to break the orthodoxy of the Egyptian past, and sample new forms of sha’bi pop and Sufi music, bubbling up from poor urban neighborhoods where street weddings may offer a glimpse of Egyptian pop music to come.
Egypt 4: Living Traditions - As Egyptians struggle to forge a new, post-revolution identity, some will look to traditions. The country is rich in indigenous culture from the amorous odes of desert Bedouins to the keening boom and blare of a Zeffa wedding procession. New Cairo venues now present Nubian music, ancient sounds from the Delta and Suez regions, and even the music of the zar healing ritual—elevating these forms above touristic fare found on Nile Cruises and in old Cairo. This Hip Deep edition, rich with recordings made in the field, offers a sonic map of Egypt’s traditional life, culminating in the ecstasy of a Sufi saint celebration—a mouled.
A Summer Walk Through Tahrir Square - Afropop producer Banning Eyre took a walk through the square to interview and talk to some of the people who were still occupying the space. Eyre met a series of people and musicians who told him about the music they played during the occupation of the square and what inspired them to stand up against the government.
Cairo's Evolving Classical Music Scene - Producer Banning Eyre takes the pulse of classical music in Cairo today. He visits oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma, and speaks with ethnomusicologist Scott Marcus. We hear an amazing live performance by violin maestro Abdou Dagher.
The Electronic Underground of Cairo - Producer Banning Eyre delves into the small but vibrant world of Cairo's electronic music scene. We meet Mahmoud Refat, founder of the independent record label 100 Copies Music, and sample work by his artists. We also meet and hear work by Refat’s ally and collaborator, composer Hassan Khan.
The Ecstasy of Sufi Moulid - Banning Eyre delves into the world of sufis. Join us as Afropop visits a sufi moulid celebration in Upper Egypt and delves into the history of sufi celebration and culture in Egypt.
What's Next for Egyptian Music? The Rise of Rap & Electro-Sha'bi - This podcast focuses on the roots of Egyptian rap, and its surging popularity after the revolution. The future of music in Egypt may be the fusion of rap and another surging, young genre, electro-sha'bi.