Film and Talk: Electro Chaabi + Activism in Music
Electro Chaabi (2013, 77 min. Director: Hind Meddeb)
While Egypt has traditionally been the beating heart of classical Arabic music, with legendary singers such as Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez, a new craze is taking over the Arab world’s most populous nation: Electro Chaabi. Inspired by the down-and-dirty music played at street parties and weddings, this new populist dance form combines a punk spirit with a hip hop attitude set against a furious cascade of drums, bass, and electronic vocals.
If feature-length documentaries such as “Buena Vista Social Club” helped introduce world audiences to the lost golden melodies of Cuban music, director Hind Meddeb is bringing the furious, sweaty rhythms of downtown Cairo to global ears with “Electro Chaabi”. While the beats are designed to get your feet moving, the lyrics, often laced with revolutionary fervor, offer insights into the mindset of today’s restless Egyptian youth. It is unlike anything you’ve seen (or heard) before.