Singer Hany Shaker has become the new head of the Musicians Syndicate after defeating the incumbent head, singer Mostafa Kamel, and composer Mounir El-Wassimy in union elections held Tuesday.
Kamel reportedly garnered more votes than Shaker in provincial areas, but the 62-year-old performer secured victory by easily carrying the vote in Cairo.
The position is one historically and currently surrounded by a power struggle.
The Musicians Syndicate was formed upon the initiative of Umm Kalthoum in 1942, to help tackle problems faced by musicians and singers. Yet it ended up cursed with more struggles than it provided solutions.
A public dispute emerged between Kalthoum and renowned composer Mohamed Abdel Wahab, leading to elections that granted the head position to Kalthoum, who secured it for seven consecutive rounds.
The years after the 25 January 2011 uprising witnessed a long feud between singer Iman El-Bahr Darwish, who held the position in 2011, and his successor, Kamel, seeing legal accusations going both ways between the two, and debates on who has the right to the chair.
With his fresh win, singer, composer and actor Shaker boasts a long musical career with over 400 songs.
Born in 1952, he started playing the piano during his school years, then joined the Cairo Conservatoire in the early 70s after he graduated high school.
In 1972 Shaker presented his hit song, Helwa ya Donia, which was written by renowned composer Mohamed El-Mougi.
Shaker had the opportunity to start his musical path at a time when some of Egypt’s musical legends were still at their peak: Umm Kulthoum, Farid El-Atrash, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and most notably Abdel-Halim Hafez, who greatly influenced Shaker’s musical approach.
Shaker joined Abdel-Halim's choir, appearing in the songs Soura and Bel Ahdan.
The 62-year-old singer also worked with renowned composers including Yehia El-Mougi, Baligh Hamdy, Ammar El-Shereei and Mounir Mourad.
His debut film performance was in the 1966 film Sayed Darwish, directed by Ahmed Badrakhan, recounting the legendary singer’s life, where he played a young Darwish.
Shaker is set to play at the 13th Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Summer Festival on Monday, 17 August, in the Open Air Theatre.