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This Is Mahraganat, a Style of Egyptian Street Music the Government Calls ‘More Dangerous Than Coronavirus'

Posted On: Mar 26, 2020   |   Posted By: Billboard

The reedy tones of a synthesizer bleed into the soundscape of dissonant electronics. Subsonic bass shakes the earth as metallic percussion comes down like thunder. When the storm breaks, a frantic beat kicks into gear. Live drum fills, clinking finger cymbals, and a syncopated bass drum fuel the revelry for what sounds like a wedding party teetering on the edge of doom.
This is “Procession” and “Phase 5,” back-to-back tracks off Three Phase, the debut album by Egyptian artist 3Phaz. Arriving March 27 on the Cairo-based independent record label 100Copies, the album represents the latest example of artists taking inspiration from mahraganat, a style of bombastic Egyptian street music that has gained in massive popularity across the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., even as it's officially been banned at home.
Mahraganat means “festivals” in Arabic (it's also sometimes referred to as “electro shaabi”). It first emerged in the late-2000s in impoverished Cairo districts and suburbs such as Imbaba and Al-Salaam...

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