Electro Chaabi - musical genre

Appears in: Musicians


On the margins of the cultural revolution that swept over Egypt, in the poorest neighborhoods of Cairo, an electrifying version of Arab hip hop has evolved out of the popular music known as chaabi. Mahraganat, Arabic for “festivals,” is a raucous and addictive blend of traditional music and rap, set against a furious cascade of drums, bass, and electronic vocals. The singing is fast, often improvised, and the subjects range from hashish, sex, and friendship to poverty and political betrayal. In a country where 50% of Egyptians are under the age of 25, and at a time of major social upheaval, mahraganat has become a phenomenon. With a population of 85 million, Egypt is the Arab world's most populous nation and its largest music market; it songs rack up millions of views on YouTube, are featured in Arab films and television commercials, and can be heard as cell phone ring tones and at sprawling concert venues. Director Hind Meddeb profiles the young men behind the music-Sadat, Oka & Ortega, Weza, Fig, Chipsy, and Amra Haha-and the impact of their sound on their country as well as on their own lives.