Let freedom ring with a blast of underground music
Egyptian youth have taken the revolution as an opportunity to expand their creativity and passion for music. It has become a method for them to express their hopes, concerns, and fears for their society and their generation.
It's no wonder Plato said "If you want to measure the spiritual depth of society, make sure to mark its music."
Studies from the University of Alberta in Canada, the University of London, the University of Kentucky and the University of Bern in Switzerland have all emphasized how music and changes in society - such as the Egyptian Revolution - are mutually inclusive.
John Baboukis, director of the Music program at AUC, agreed that music plays a major part in the post-revolutionary era, and is part of the social media wave that propelled the revolutions in countries like Tunisia and Libya.
The satirical videos that came out to make fun of Qaddafi, the former ruler of Libya, are perfect examples.
Baboukis said that the direction Egyptian music is headed remains unclear as it depends on how the political landscape develops over the next few months. The level of censorship, for example, will depend on the type of government that will emerge.
In the interim, a ‘new' genre of music appears to be emerging. The revolution has served as a platform where previously unknown artists could come to the front lines, be discovered and be ‘written into history'.
"Before the revolution people were more interested to listen to pop icons rather than underground music," said Mina Nashaat, an AUCian who is also the saxophone player in the Egyptian oriented band Foo2 El Sotoo7.
He added that Egyptian music listeners have begun "to be drawn to authenticity and sincerity and are beginning to head away from the former [pop icons and music]."
Nashaat explained that "revolutionary music" does not have to actually talk about the revolution. He defined it as "courageous and natural music that is not afraid to introduce new and personal ideas and experience to the listener no matter what their nature may be."
Music preferred throughout different generations has generally changed. Throughout the streets of Cairo, at any given time, you are likely to hear some sort of music.
Whether it comes from the Golden Age of Egyptian music (around the mid-20th century) with the achy love songs of Faiza Ahmed or the patriotic expressions of Abdel Halim Hafez, a screeching new techo-pop Arabic mix or the deluct tones of Tamer Hosny, society has changed its preferences along with its music choice.
In the 1940's and 1950's Egypt, Om Kalthoum reigned supreme and general ‘folk' music was immensely popular. Music by ‘normal' people sung to the masses.
Songs were heavily about politics, patriotism (corresponding to the ups and downs of love and emotion.
"That was real music back then, the vocals weren't being manipulated by technology," said Awatef Idris, a 30 year old assistant manager in Cairo.
"It was deeper, with more meaning. They [the singers] sounded the same in concert and on the radio, without having their vocals tuned by technology. Nowadays, people don't have time to listen to music or songs that are 15 minutes or longer. We're all too busy. We need it to be simple."
Nevertheless, it is Egypt's youth, many of which filled the ranks of the revolutionaries and reformists that braved the regime's thugs nine 10 months ago, that are rewriting music history.
"The new music: the music of the young people in Egypt... they are the ones producing new things a trends, popular genres in particular," said Baboukis.
Marwan Imam, one of the two lead singers of the popular local Band High on Body Fat, believes that daily life in Egypt offers plenty of inspiration.
"We're inspired by our lives, basically anything we see or experience is grounds for a song. We usually try to find controversial topics and stuff that is common in popular culture,"
"We cover things from Blackberrys to the emergency law, so there aren't any rules really to what songs we write."
High on Body Fat say they are not afraid to express themselves freely, even if they approach risqué subjects such as ridiculing the government.
One of their riskier songs, poking fun at the emergency law a year before the Egyptian revolution, landed them in hot water but was a perfect example of their refusing to back down from their right to freedom of expression.
"We have always been controversial with our songs," Imam said.