Even since before the revolution, contemporary music has been flourishing in Egypt. In 2010, the Egyptian film Microphone uncovered Alexandria’s underground music scene, and the success of Egyptian bands like Wust El Balad and Masar Egbary has encouraged more bands to emerge on the national scene.
YouTube has become crucial to Egypt’s fast-changing and energetic music scene. Instead of being a secondary medium to television and radio, YouTube has become the main broadcasting medium for many artists. One song made famous by YouTube is El Lamoona, ‘the lemon’.
The song was published the day before yesterday on YouTube, and expresses widespread disappointment in Morsi’s presidency. The song’s title comes from an Egyptian idiom involving squeezing a lemon on yourself when doing something that you don’t want to do, but have to. During the elections, the idiom was used by many people to describe voting for Morsi.
The song begins: “We squeezed a lemon and were given soap [and we were tricked]. We know that the Muslim Brotherhood is not to be trusted. They swore and promised, and quickly sold [betrayed] us.” The song’s message is apparent; its composers are not happy with the current president or his political affiliations. We contacted one of the song’s composers, Ahmad Mostafa, to shed light on his creation.
“I have recently started learning how to play the oud and always wanted to compose something that sounds a bit more Egyptian rather than the rock-styled tracks I have composed before, likeFakhamet el Ra’ees [His Excellency, the President] with Hany Adel, or Dawar Benafsak [Search for Yourself] also with Hany Adel, and Ana Mawgood [I am here] and Saket [Silenced] For City Band,” says Mostafa.
He explains that the song’s idea came to him by accident: “Being a young Egyptian who was involved in the revolution, it is always on my mind wherever I go and whatever I do. For this song, I was waiting for a friend of mine in Maadi, and I was just playing around with some tunes and singing in the street.
Then I found myself saying “we a’asarna lamoona, fa akhadna saboona [we squeezed a lemon and were given soap]” and I thought, wow, that sounds pretty cool. This is when I called Ahmad El Haggar who has wonderful Arabic vocals, and is a good friend of mine, to tell him about the song and its idea. He showed interest right away.”
The song combines the oriental sound of the oud with the contemporary riffs of the guitar, along with Egyptian percussion. This nice mixture of instruments makes the song sound both familiar and folkloric. The song also draws on the usual descriptions of the president, such as being a spare president [second choice to disqualified presidential candidate Khairat Al Shater] and one that belongs to a clan [often said by Morsi himself]. (Daily news Egypt)