CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN CAIRO

Cultural Revolution In Cairo
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CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN CAIRO



Written by Patrick Grimmer
10 Wednesday 10th July 2013

If you’ve only caught the briefest glance at the headlines over the last couple of weeks, months, even years, you’ll be well aware of the events that have been and are taking place in the centre of the Egyptian capital of Cairo. For many of us, the Revolution is most profoundly illustrated by an overflowing and bustling Tahrir Square.

But is this justified? There’s no doubting the intensity of a photograph of a vivacious and vibrant square, full to the brim with citizens united by a common socio-political purpose and agenda. But what goes on outside of the Egyptian capital’s main square when the protesters depart? How is the revolution maintained?

It is within the backstreets of Cairo that its thriving subcultural scene and the revolutionary sentiment that it channels resonates. The soundtrack to the end-of-Morsi-tenure has been provided, and perhaps foreshadowed, by the predominantly working-class and anti-conservative Mahraganat genre. Deriving from the Arabic word for “festivals”, Mahraganat consists of high-BPM, pumping electronic beats that rattle and clatter conservative Muslim sensibilities. Ex-President Morsi himself chastised dance as violating sharia law as well as the Egyptian constitution. The politics of dancing to such music thus gains significance in a country that, in parts, shudders at the hedonistic implications of such actions. 

But this new sound, emerging in the wake of Mubarak’s departure in 2011, seems to herald and hope for a new Egypt in a possibly not dissimilar manner to the way in which techno recorded the new Germany after the fall of the Wall. Check out a piece of footage from the NY Times below that sheds some light on the musical revolutions that occur away from Tahrir Square.

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