Its turning point came in 2010 At that time the genre was deeply ingrained in its neighborhoods and it was thanks to the commitment of production companies like 100 Copies that its compositions began to become more sophisticated and its singers
Began to appear at festivals The 2011 revolution further favored its emergence This was the future and we had to work on it as the music that it is not just as something social reserved for celebrations punctual Refat considers
As the mahraganat has become popular it has inevitably attracted the attention of suspicious Egyptian authorities who with their usual paternalistic attitude have launched various campaigns to discredit and silence the genre under the pretext of being.
Vulgar denigrating and far from the ordinary they consider the Egyptian values On the opposite spectrum there are also those who criticize the genre for its apparent lack of political awareness The mahraganat is neither the legend of the Arabic song Um Kalthum nor the Cairokee group But it has no intention of being
You cant say that Mahraganat singers are apolitical because their life is very political observes Mariam Diefallah a feminist activist and blogger who closely follows the scene Living in workingclass neighborhoods wandering around trying to find work dealing with not being able to marry your girlfriend.
Because you cant afford it talking about drugs and erectile dysfunction all of this is definitely political he adds They are criticizing their conditions and they are recovering their neighborhoods and they are saying that these are important and influential and they force many people to know these problems he slides
The regimes last major campaign against mahraganat was launched in February when the ruling Musicians Union tried to ban it in some establishments after two popular singers sang during a packed Valentines Day party in Cairo the lyrics of the song Bent.
El Giran the neighbors daughter who prays that if the girl leaves them they will start drinking alcohol and smoking hashish An unacceptable reference in the eyes of the purist union which this September has returned to the load with a list of mahraganat songs that it wants to ban on the radio One more example of the persecution and censorship of art and artists by the regime of Abdelfatá al Sisi
Before singing they have to respect the law and go to the union to be told if they are valid From there there is no problem says Saad El Metwally the unions legal advisor who adds yes that the lyrics have to respect the limits of morality
The proof of the movements success took just a month to come In March another popular Mahraganat singer Hamo Bika won YouTubes creator award by reaching 1 million subscribers And Bint El Giran has already accumulated 410 million views
If you look at the music and the lyrics you can find parallels with other genres from other parts of the world like rap or reggaeton This music often associated with workingclass neighborhoods is easy to put aside and consider that it is not music or not real culture says Diefallah But mahraganat music can not be controlled
I have a lot of respect for elitist culture very conceptual art says Refat but now if I dont have an impact on my culture I think we are doing something wrong and to have that impact requires a certain reality especially in Egypt where life is very hard.
So mahraganat may not be pretty he adds but it is what it is This is the language of the street and if we turn our backs on it we will not understand the future and we will not understand where we are