On the noise of a crowded street, a driver (a three-wheeled motor vehicle) waited in front of a spinning factory until customers boarded his vehicle, in a popular Cairo neighborhood in Shubra El-Kheima, north of the capital.
The driver named Wael raised the voice of the song player on one song he repeated several times, which is the song “Bint Al Jeeran”, which belongs to what is known in Egypt as “songs of festivals.” Her words drew the attention of passers-by among those who enjoyed it and were upset with it.
But perhaps Wael and his fellow drivers who keep hearing this color of songs during their work day may not know that last week is considered the most prominent in the history of Egyptian “songs of festivals”. The song “Bint Al-Jeeran”, by artist Hassan Shakoush, ranked second in the list of materials. The most listened to the famous “SoundCloud” site, with more than five million listeners in one week, more than 45 million listeners in total, as well as more than 70 million views on YouTube.
The song “Bint Al Jeeran” has surpassed other international songs and syllables, most notably a recent song by the famous American businessman “Elon Musk”, which came in eighth place, not only this, but Shakosh also surpassed Musk with another song called “Shams of the Galaxy” – with the participation of the singer The famous Egyptian in this type of songs “Hamou Beca” – which ranked seventh on the same list.
Wael tells the BBC that he listens to this “festival” by singer Hassan Shakoush and other festivals, during his working hours, and adds: “This type of songs attracts the attention of customers and helps to work in focus without getting bored,” explaining that it is not possible to listen to festival songs with a voice Khafar, justified by saying that most people in this region wrote songs for festivals years ago.
He sings at the “Girl’s Neighbor” festival with his friend Omar Kamal, Shakosh, and the words of the song composed by Mostafa Hadouta in the neighbor’s girl, and show the extent of attachment to it, to the point that abandoning him will cause him to lose his way and drink “wine and hashish.”
The songs of the festivals appeared in Egypt about a decade and a half ago among the youth from the working and middle classes, in the popular areas, some means of transportation, and the popular wedding parties, but it attracted a larger audience than the listeners from other classes during the past five years.
The singers of festivals, most of whom have not studied singing academically, resort to young authors who write words, most of them inspired to live in popular places, and then compose them electronically, while adding some sound effects to them.
Commenting on the arrival of the second-generation “Bint Al Jeeran” festival on SoundCloud in the last week, Hassan Shakoush says that “thanks to my mother’s invitations” and the support of friends and loved ones.
“I was sleeping, and I woke up to phone calls from my friends and acquaintances congratulating the song, the girl of neighbors, for the second place on the famous site,” Shakosh said, in a press statement to a local newspaper posted on his Facebook page.
Shakush was a football player at the Ismaili Club, which represents the city of Ismailia in eastern Egypt, and says that he left football forcibly because he did not get an adequate money, before he went to sing festivals ten years ago, explaining that he had fulfilled his father’s dream of becoming a famous football player or singer .
The official Shakoush channel on YouTube crossed the one million subscriber barrier a few days ago, and the site presented it with a shield on this occasion, which he will receive this week.
While Shakosh said that he is a member of the Syndicate of Musical Professions, the Syndicate says that he is not yet so, even though he applied for membership in the Syndicate recently and performed the necessary tests, but the results of these tests have not yet emerged, according to union officials.
The Syndicate of Musical Professions in Egypt, the authority authorized to grant permits to sing in the country, banned 16 festivals from singing, or holding any parties, and refused to join the union.
Tariq Murtada, a spokesman for the Musicians Syndicate, told the BBC that we should not support this kind of phenomenon that has nothing to do with art, adding, “This is a regret and unfortunately it has become a lot of people.”
Mortada adds that “facing this type of phenomenon is through the provision of serious and meaningful art and its support,” saying that there are palaces from the state and from the musicians that allowed the spread of the phenomenon of festival songs.
Responding to the reasons for achieving festival songs for all these millions of listeners, Murtada explained, “The public lacks good art because of the lack of positive talents in the music singing market.”
The union warned of a deterrent punishment, which is imprisonment from one to three months, and a fine of 10 to 50 thousand pounds, against any of them if they participate in singing concerts, and whoever facilitates their participation in singing.
Cliche mother An extension of folk art?
The songs of the festivals, since their appearance, raise a lot of controversy in Egypt, between those who consider it a extortionate type of songs that offends the public taste and constitutes a negative impact on the youth, and between those who see it as a natural extension of folk art that meets the demands of the recipient and the listener, and which he chooses voluntarily and not others.
However, the spread of listening to festive songs outside Egypt created a third kind between the two teams, which calls for training festive song artists and benefiting from their wide spread as a “soft power”.
Mohamed Saqr, a music critic, says that this type of musical art “comes out of a real reality, and the audience listens to it despite its simplicity because it is consistent with reality and places its hand on the problems of the simple.”
Saqr adds in an interview with the BBC that the phenomenon of festival songs can last for years, and it is not a negative phenomenon as some people imagine it, but rather it is a different kind of art.
Saqr explains that “against festivals by preventing and warning, and that the way to confront art is with another art that reaches the audience better.”
Recently, party organizers began hiring festivals’ singers to sing at major hotels and popular restaurants, and to travel abroad to celebrate parties.
Khaled Montaser, an Egyptian doctor and writer, says that the songs of the festivals have become a great controversy, and he asks: “Is it a phenomenon that we must absorb and march and accept, and more importantly study it? Are they the reason for the decline in taste as it is said, or is the taste descended by those songs?” Are these songs a cause or a result?
Montaser adds that some object to these festivals, considering that the audience’s dance when heard is not an excuse to judge it as bad. Here, the response will be: What is the criterion of mediocrity? If you mean the words, the words of the most famous American songs are of low value and trivial, and your response may be: The banality is different On simplicity, their songs are simple, not trivial, etc. “, according to Montaser.
Most of the festival’s songs revolve around the problems of poverty, marginalization, drugs and friendship, and have gradually expanded to include school and university students during the past few years.