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A Closer Look at Contemporary Egyptian Music Trends

January 18, 2020
Image Credit: Marwan Pablo’s Facebook page

From Um Kulthoum’s powerfully soothing voice filling the vibrant local ahwa’s (cafe) air, to the energetic beats of the mahraganat (festive Egyptian pop/electro music) playing at a local wedding, Egypt’s contemporary music scene is as eclectic as the Egyptian population itself. As is the case anywhere in the world, the music that the general population in Egypt listens to has evolved tremendously throughout the years and music trends keep changing in accordance to the change in time, and the socio-economic and political changes that take place alongside. That being said, each generation is usually associated with a specific genre of music that was primarily a trend at the time.  During the mid-20th century for example (1940’s, 50’s, 60’s), the popular music at the time was what modern day Egyptians now refer to as ‘the classics’ – think Um Kulthoum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez, and Asmahan (in addition to other such names). This particular era’s genre of music is known for its poetic lyrics and long melodic intervals of orchestral music. At the time, most songs revolved around the theme of love, as well as the pain and suffering…

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