معلومات عامه

Mahraganat songs between real prohibition and formal legalization

أغاني المهرجانات


Twenty-year-old Mahmoud Ahmed scoffed at the decisions of the Musical Professions Union in Egypt, whether banning songs from festivals or legalizing their status, and he decided to rent a small apartment to be the seat of his work. singing, and an office where he would meet a number of his friends interested in singing.

Hani Shaker, the head of the Musical Professions Union in Egypt had decided in February this year to ban Mahraganat songs because of their violation of the rules of morality, before legalizing their conditions – less than a month later – by a second statement from the Musical Professions Union, in which it revealed the creation of a new division within the Union under the name “Technical Performance Division”.

Ahmed or Al-Alamy, as his friends call him, says in his statements to “Arajik” that his interest in popular singing and festival songs started since he was a college student, when he was attending for the first time at a popular wedding, adding that his love for these types of songs and his attraction to them was enough for him in college, and not caring about finishing his studies, he also pointed out that he didn’t know anything in his life at apart from singing festivals.

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The most important characteristic of festival songs

Ahmed lists his leadership and other’s reasons for singing festivals, saying it doesn’t require a lot of money, so no early-stage festival artist just needs a computer that is supported by a external sound card, microphone, headphones and a program that is installed on the computer, which does not exceed ten thousand Egyptian pounds in most cases (around $ 600), and the widespread fame and money that some artists Festivals getting at a young age have contributed to an increase in interest in festival singing, especially among young people, highlighting the important role social media plays in making the singer famous at any given time. Short and high daily wage.

On the most salient feature of the Mahraganat songs and aiding their dissemination, Ahmed says that the lyrics of the Mahraganat songs, and the affiliation of the majority of their performers to popular circles, made a large part of the Egyptian people feel familiarity and lack of alienation, as well as the state of joy that festival songs send in the case of their listeners, which is what relies on his control over the largest percentage of songs to the indoor weddings, whether in popular or upscale neighborhoods.

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Ahmed also shares the opinion that demands the need to fight against depravity and vulgarity in the lyrics of some Mahraganat songs. The association of Mahraganat singers with the Union of Musical Professions in the future is an incentive for the existence of a internal control from the singer himself who makes him scrutinize his choices.

Audience views on mahraganat songs

Following up on Mahraganat chants is not limited to a specific age or specific social group, but extends to all groups in society in one form or another.

Hana Abdel Hamid, a first year middle school student, told “Arajik” that she did not know the mahraganat songs and only listened to them after she created a personal account on the famous “Tik Tok” program (a social media program), where these songs are used in most of the videos. In the program, which prompted her to listen to these songs again in full, indicating that she had become memorized by rote, wishing that educational institutions in Egypt would use the singers of the festivals to sing the lessons so that they could be memorized.

The situation is not much different for Ahmed Magdy, a student at the British University in Egypt, as he confirms his love and interest in these types of songs, reducing the percentage of non-followers. He also revealed his interest – on a personal level – in songs that contain vulgar (vulgar) words, as they initially reveal the nature of life in popular and poor societies in some way, as well as their impact on the nature of his personality by adding a few experiences, but he came back to confirm his interest in vulgar words, whatever. About its negative or positive results and effects.

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As for Samia Ahmed, at the pension, she says that she follows the songs of the festivals and hears them from time to time, and with some of her songs feels excessive joy and happiness, noting that when she listens to some of the songs broadcast through the speakers of the tuk-tuk (a three-wheeled vehicle) e.g. She hopes she won’t end and the tuktuk will continue to stand near her house on the main street of one of the neighborhoods, and she considers that legalizing the status of festival singers is a good step.

Opinions in favor and as a result of mahraganat songs have changed with Rifaat Muhammad, the teaching officer of the Police College of one of the Arab countries, who is spending his holidays in Egypt, as he points out that he is not interested in these types of songs and preferred not to listen to them, but considered the requests to censor these songs as a clear restriction. For the freedom of creativity, and appealed to those interested in the state of singing in Egypt to allow young people and younger generations to experience it themselves and to profit from their mistakes.

Associative opinions and research

Egypt Musical Professions Union inspector Abdo Saeed says spread of festival singers inside Egypt has become a need for direct intervention from the Union calling for preservation of prestige and the status of Egyptian art on the internal and external arenas, adding that this interference does not mean censoring freedom of creativity, but rather controlling The state of chaos has spread in the art scene as a result of the dissemination random festival songs, rejecting the charges against the Musical Professions Union for restriction of freedoms.

Saeed also stressed the attention of the union in all cases to the interest of the state and the citizen on the one hand, and of the artist on the other hand, so that the artist, whether union member or affiliated with the rights of the state or citizen, should not violate.

He added that the Union grants all its members protection against their employer against: hotels, nightclubs and tourist facilities … etc. in the event that it exceeds the rights of its members, and vice versa. The union is in this case a mediator between the member and his workplace

Regarding the nature of his job, Saeed says the union allocates a number of inspectors to the workplaces of different members, and each inspector is assigned to a specific workplace, such as hotels or clubs. night, for example, and that each inspector is obliged to review the licenses of the singer and the members of his group, and to verify them before the beginning of their artistic paragraph. And in the event that one of them violates this, a report of the incident will be drawn up, which may lead – after investigation – to the cessation of the exercise of the profession for a temporary or permanent period, and a report can be issued against the singer or one of the members of his group if one of them violates the internal rules of their place of work or company. For a shameful act, such as drinking drugs on stage, add that in rare cases, a violation is inflicted on Syndicate singers because of the vulgar lyrics of their songs.

In addition, and in a study published by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression in Egypt, titled: “The Festivals Legalization Trap: Recognition versus the Removal of Identity” by researcher Sarah Ramadan, in which she is based on the monitoring and analysis of declarations and decisions of the Syndicat des professions musicales concerning festivals, as well as laws. The organizer of the work of the union, as well as the researcher carrying out interviews with 4 festival singers.

Legalization of festival songs

In her study, the researcher criticizes the withdrawal of the Union of Musical Professions in Egypt from playing its role of entity aiming to take care of the profession and its workers to a tool that tends to adopt specific ideological positions – since 2015 and Hani Shaker assumed his presidency – identical and consistent with the state and its tutelary and punitive orientations, until the conflict resulted in defining what He is downcast and not high-end.

Ramadan points out that the question does not depend on defining what falls within the scope of art and what is not considered art in the first place, but rather rests on a number of: moral statements on the content of the song, the behavior and background of its producers, and the alleged bad social impact, in addition to the legal charges related to the form of production.

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With regard to Mahraganat songs, the researcher considers that one of the most important characteristics of the festival production process is its creation and dissemination independently of the traditional production system, so that the environment incubating this art enjoys ‘a great margin of freedom, which made it difficult to assimilate in all its colors.

The researcher considers that the union’s attack on Oka and Ortega or the attack on Hassan Shakoush was less intense than the largest and longest battle against “Hamo Beka”, which began in 2018 and continued. until now. It seemed that Beka was difficult to adapt, as he clearly declares his hostility to the security system, and there is hardly a festival that has at least one sentence condemning the performance of the police in Egypt, and he also announced to several times that he would not give up singing, and that the audience is the deciding factor.

Ramadan indicates that Law No. 35 of 1978 regulating the work of artistic unions does not grant any punitive power over individuals or establishments outside the scope of the union, and that the union’s decision in February this year has banned festival songs in public and tourist places, and prohibited processing a specific list of Festival singer is considered an underlying in the work of the Ministry of Tourism concerned with the supervision and control of the activity tourism, before the ban was lifted and the conditions for festival singers were legalized at the beginning of March this year by creating a division for folk or artistic performances, which only allows the issuance of permits renewed annually, and can be withdrawn and not renewed without Conducting an investigation, which was no different from what once was in granting the Union authorizations tions to sing and organize concerts for remuneration after the approval of the Supervisory Board of artistic works, so that the creation of a division for popular or artistic performance is nothing more than a formal procedure which does not express the openness of the union vision of the arts and forms. The song is different, but rather an alignment achieved by the union which shows its helplessness and its desire for profit, but with a new adaptation which corresponds to its vision of art, society and the taste of the public.

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