Music From Tahrir: Eight Songs of the January 25th Revolution
The past few weeks have been a challenging and inspiring
time for many of us in Cairo. Many musicians, local and world-renowned, have produced songs inspired by the momentous demonstrations in Tahrir.
Take a look at our selection of eight great songs, with many more to follow in
the coming days as we hear that several musicians are back in the studio, putting
the final touches to their productions.
‘Sout Al Horeya’ by Hany Adel, Amir Eid and Hawary on Guitar
This beautifully shot video features the vocals of Hany Adel
from Wust El Balad as well as Amir Eid, as they walk through the crowds of
demonstrators in Tahrir square. Following a simple formula reminiscent of Bob
Dylan, each shot features different protestors carrying posters of the lyrics as they sing: from the sweet potato seller to the Al Azhar Sheikh and the little girl with her father. The song’s lyrics are poignant and inspiring,
talking about breaking barriers, using hopes and dreams as ammunition against
oppression, and the voice of freedom calling on every street in Cairo. This version carries English subtitles.
‘Ana Bahebek Ya Belady’ by Aziz El Shaffei and Ramy Gammal
This heartbreaking song was written for the martyrs of the January 25th revolution. The lyrics are written from the perspective of a fallen
revolutionary singing to his country and his mother. ‘In my body there is a
bullet and lead/ Your flag is in my hand…/I die I die for my country to live.’
The song features photograph stills from the demonstrations, as well
as a few photographs of those who died in the revolution. Watch the version with English subtitles here.
‘#Jan25 Egypt’ by Omar Offendum, The
Narcicyst, Freeway, Ayah, Amir Suleiman
Using theTwitter hash tag in their song title may be
indicative of just how powerful a role Twitter had during the revolution, or it
could just be a typo. This collaborative rap song was inspired by the January
25th revolution. Backed by a heavy cello, the songs kicks off powerfully, the lyrics and the sincerity of the raping vocals embody the anger and powerful uprising of a people’s movement. ‘I heard they said the revolution won’t be
televised/ Al Jazeera proved them wrong/ Twitter has them paralysed/ 80 million
strong and ain’t no longer going to be terrorised/’ are just a few of the powerful lyrics.
Fandem’ by Sabry
Written and produced by Digla, this song features
the sincere vocals of Sabry, who sings ‘Yes, sir/ Yes, sir/ You who have shown
me nothing but torture.’ The video features shots of some of the most powerful
images seen throughout the demonstrations. Accompanied by a heavy table beat
and oriental instruments, the song is moving and perfectly symbolic of
the Egyptian sentiment.
’25th January‘ by Ahmed Mekky feat.
Egyptian actor Ahmed Mekky raps in honour of the
demonstrations and Tahrir square, praising it as a place of unity for Muslims and Christians,
illiterate and intellectuals, rich and poor, where moral principles are at
their finest and people feel safe together. He warns that demonstrators are
patient, but if pushed will be a force to reckon with. ‘I don’t want
humiliation or injustice/I want recognition,’ he raps, as Mohamed Mohsen sings ‘The Egyptian’s dignity is very valuable to him/ He wants his dignity back and to
end all corruption.’
The singer’s identity may be unknown, but anyone who was in Tahrir Square
over the past few weeks would probably recognise this song, which has been
viewed over half a million times. Perched on a stage facing the masses of
demonstrators at night with nothing but a mic and an acoustic guitar, the
singer made a medley of some of the most popular chants during the
demonstrations: ‘We are all one hand/And we asked for one thing/ Leave, Leave,
Leave, Leave/ The people want the downfall of the regime/He leaves/ We’re not
‘Alo Magnoon Gedeeda-Midan Tahrir’ by Mado Acoustic Project
This song plays on the recent Etisalat campaign sung by
Mohamed Monir among others, with different
lyrics to match the January 25 revolution. ‘They call him crazy/ He who
thinks that this country could one day change/ They call him crazy/ He who’s
been waiting since 1981.’ It’s a sweet and hopeful song that answers to cynics
and critics of the Tahrir demonstrators.
Song For Egypt by Wyclef Jean
Debuting his song on the morning of February11, 2011, Wyclef
Jean sang from his studio to pay tribute to the Egyptian demonstrators. ‘I see
the people/ Using rocks for weapons/ This is not an
exodus/ Tell the Pharaoh the people ain’t leaving/ This is more like a genesis/
We want Freedom.’ He ends his song with an acoustic solo as the screen blends
with the Egyptian flag and images of the demonstrations.