Electro Chaabi

The link between music and revolt is fascinating. I’d still like to execute the plan to take a wheelie bin soundsystem to a demo and pump out venetian snares when things get interesting. The Void network write about how in Athens in 2008, rioters popped into a 3 day rave happening in the relative security of the university asylum (where the police could not enter) before rejoining the conflict on the surrounding streets.

When I’m at a rave in a squatted space, it feels political, since people are taking self-organised direct action to utilise a derelict space for their own needs. If that need is to get fucked up and roll around on the floor, well that’s still part of creating a temporary autonomous zone. But yeah i agree maybe long term it doesn’t accomplish much, even if these small slivers of freedom are better than nothing. In the normalised cities of the future, will people be able to do this?

Well, in Egypt, despite the tumult and the repression, new forms of music are springing up from the streets. Film maker Hind Meddeb, a French-Tunisian woman who recently stood trial in Ben Arous for insulting the police, went to El Salam City, a district of Cairo, to film people making Mahraganat. She calls it electro, I’d call it more rap. The place where the music gets played out appears to be weddings, which seem to take the form of street raves.

One of the acts she follows are Oka and Ortega, two guys from the streets who now perform on TV and at 5 star hotels (and let’s remember, are in a film shown at the IFFR in the Netherlands). She interviews the granny of one of them, who is hilarious, telling how she sends all the groupies packing and how she told them they would never get anywhere with their music.

The gender question cannot be ignored and it does seem a shame that even at the raves, where people are singing about how muslims and christians should unite and how the revolution was stolen from the people,the men and women continue to dance in segregated blocks.

The film was shown on the third “anniversary” of the toppling of Mubarak and we heard that 7 people had been killed in clashes in Cairo. That sad total has now gone up to “at least 49.”

Forward the revolution.

Best bits? Granny, crappy sound systems, pimped up tuks tuks and the bit where they go dancing on a roof, with some guy playing mad beats on his casio keyboard – “up here we are free, where only the pigeons and god can hear us”


One thought on “Electro Chaabi

  1. Pingback: once upon a time in shanghai | i munch moovies

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