Egyptian Street Music

by justindburton on October 7, 2011

A recent NPR feature by Banning Eyre designates street music – wedding music, even – as the future of Egyptian pop.

I met DJ Islam Chipsy while he was performing and cutting loose at a Cairo street wedding. And he was kind enough to give me some insight into the culture of Egyptian street music:

“I think its just guys from poor neighborhoods that also listen to DJs from the West, and they made their own version of — you can call it different names — but there’s definitely nothing like it. It is an Egyptian rhythm finally. It’s not a Western rhythm.”

The easy analogy – and Eyre makes it – is to the recent revolution that bubbled from the streets. This is music following politics’ lead. I wonder, though, if anyone who reads this is on the ground in Cairo and can comment on the recent attention to street and wedding music. Do the musicians make any direct associations with the recent revolution? Is there any chance that the culture of street music could have been a contributing factor to the revolution? Social media echnology has often been cited as crucial to the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime, and I would imagine that a street music scene was making use of these technologies long before January; perhaps such uses could have led from music-making to revolution?

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