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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

DJ Zo'la's funeral takes place in Cairo

Egyptian DJ Ahmed Mohsen, aka Zo'la, died last Sunday after he was shot during clashes in the northern Cairo district of Matariya

Ahram Online , Thursday 29 Jan 2015
Ahmed Zoala
Dj Ahmed Zoala (Photo: Courtesy of Ahmed Zoala Facebook)
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The funeral of Ahmed Mohsen, an Egyptian DJ and member of the mahraganat group Sadat and Alaa Fifty, took place in Cairo on Wednesday.

Mohsen, who goes by the nickname Zo’la, was reportedly shot in the head in front of his house in Matariya in northern Cairo on the fourth anniversary of the 25 January uprising. He died on Sunday evening.  

Mahraganat, which is Arabic for "festivals", refers to a musical genre that relies on a mesh between auto-tunes and drumbeats, that is also called electro-shaabi music. Its lyrics are often inspired by social ills and issues affecting Egypt’s poorest social strata.

Mostly recorded from home, the genre was first heard at street weddings but recently gained a wider following, both locally and abroad.

Fans and friends were quick to set up a page for Zo’la on Facebook, on which they exchanged consoling messages.

Commenting on Zo’la’s death, Sadat, one of Egypt’s leading mahraganat artists, said on his page: “You’re life will not go in vain…  We will miss you.”

“We're a classist society," Noov Senary, a researcher on underground music and Zo’la's manager told Ahram Online. "If I hadn’t announced Ahmed’s death [on my Facebook profile] the media would not have picked up on it.” 

“A lot of people criticise this kind of music and that’s why nobody is talking about him,” she added, criticising media outlets for not reporting on Zo’la’s death.

An article in the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reporting on his death appeared on 26 January.

Senary admits that Egyptians have been numb to death tolls, referencing a general compassion fatigue that has swept the country of late. But she maintains that the media have not paid attention to Zo’la’s death because he comes from Matariya, “which most people see as 'just another slum'.”  

“I think if [Mohamed] Mounir or [Amr] Diab had died from a bullet, even the people who don’t like them would have spoken out.”  

More than ten people have died since Sunday in clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces in Matariya.

“Ahmed is an example that what was happening in Matariya was not terrorism like some media agencies reported,” Senary told Ahram Online. "They should bring his family on television to talk about him, his life, his ambitions… He was just a student who wanted to make music."

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