‘New music for new politics’

Image: Suren Pillay

The “authentic” label notwithstanding, a new report by Banning Eyre (of Afropop) reporting for NPR from Egypt, is worth the listen:

The country is looking for new music to go with its new politics. The problem is nobody seems to agree on what that might sound like, but plenty will tell you that today’s popular music is stale.

Eyre spent a month there. He also reports that you’ll find the new music not on the radio or TV, but at street weddings, on “the streets of Cairo’s poorest districts” and occasionally on hip hop albums, with “no help from authorities or institutions.”

If the music gets recorded at all, it goes on homemade CDs or the Internet. The common thread that ties them all together is a strong Egyptian identity, and a rejection of the tired love themes that pervade mainstream Egyptian pop.

This month Afropop airs a series of programs looking at Egypt through the eyes of musicians. Listen here.

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