Sha’abi music (literally translating to ‘the music of the poor’) is the soundtrack of a new Egypt: recorded in bedrooms, mixed on shoddy laptops and capitalizing on anger at the country’s economic and political situation. Young singers seethe about their frustrations through irreverent lyrics like “The people want phone credit! Just phone credit,” a play on the popular 18-day Tahrir Square uprising chant: “The people want the fall of the regime!”
8%, the post popular Sha’abi band, performs on rickety wooden stages in alleys in their neighborhood of Matareya. Their latest recordings are passed from phone to phone by bluetooth; their YouTube videos have over 1 million listens; their Facebook page has hundreds of thousands of likes.
See more from Sha’abi Music, by David Degner