Whenever I get sick of all the unoriginal mainstream music blasting from loud radios and TVs — which is something of a permanent state for me now — I discover a song or a band in the underground music scene that revives hope.
Contrary to what most commercial musicians want us to believe, music is an art form. It has the ability to stir sadness, joy, or an endless array of emotions we never knew existed. But for music to keep its place in the world of arts, it has to be heartfelt. Artists that aren’t seeking the approval of either ill-informed or commercially-oriented producers tend to deliver this genuine type of music. And although many such acts draw a steadily expanding loyal following, the same commercially-oriented producers don’t usually seem interested. Thus, they remain part of the underground scene — treasures that need to be dug.
This is why I was excited about watching “Microphone”, a film about the underground music scene in Alexandria. I had seen director Ahmad Abdalla’s debut feature, “Heliopolis”, last year at the Cairo International Film Festival. It was beautiful and promising and made “Microphone” even more appealing.
The film lived up to my expectations and more when I watched it in a packed theater as part of this year’s festival. It was joyous and upbeat, in spite of highlighting the artists’ daily frustrations. It’s the effect of music. Here’s my review of it for Daily News Egypt.
The film featured four bands, Y-Crew Family, Mascara, Massar Egbari, Soot Fel Zahma, in addition to a range of other individual artists. According to Abdalla, he chose these out of nine bands. And there are dozens more in Alexandria.
Until the film and the soundtrack are released in Egypt, here are two of my favorite songs in the film. There are more, but these are the ones I found online. Make sure to visit the musicians’ pages on MySpace and Facebook to listen to more of their work.
Massar Egbari & Aly El Halabawy, “Mirsal le Habibty” (A Message to My Love)
Massar Egbari, “Eqra El-Khabar” (Read the News)