With tens of millions of viewers glued to TV screens, before and after Iftar, dozens of new themes and jingles permeate Arab-language TV stations and Video On Demand (VOD) streaming platforms WatchIt and Shahid.
As usual, these Ramadan specials are also top trending on music streaming platforms such as Youtube, Anghami and Spotify.
Big stars such as Amr Diab, Mohamed Mounir, Angham, Mahmoud El-Esseily and Ahmed Saad took the lead with multiple themes and jingles this year.
Ahram Online reviews some of the highlights in the Ramadan bonanza of this year by looking at some of the productions which super trended during the busy season.
An Inch and a Half
Among the huge successes on the TV and streaming platforms this Ramadan is Shebr W Nos (An Inch and a Half), the commercial song for Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation.
The song, which features Mahmoud El-Esseily and Angham, is catchy and heart-touching as most of the previous commercial songs for the foundation. It has garnered millions of hits on social media and streaming platforms, top-trending on YouTube.
The secret for the song's success, in addition to the popularity of the foundation among Egyptians, lies in the catchy lyrics by Filipeno, the delicate arrangement by Ali Fathallah and a dreamy composition by El-Esseily himself.
No doubt, the beautiful smile of the child featured in the song, Adam Yamin, captured many hearts.
El-Esseily, clearly in high demand this Ramadan, is featured in two other hugely viral jingle duets: Gowaya Nour, a bank commercial with Hamza Namira; and Zahra Heya, a real estate commercial with Razane.
Meanwhile, Angham is also featured this Ramadan with Cairokee in another commercial for real estate.
The indie rock band’s lead singer Amir Eid has also been featured in the theme song of Menna Shalaby’s series Tagheer Gao. Eid wrote and composed the theme in addition to other releases within the show which scores are produced by Sary Hany.
Thank you - from now till tomorrow!
Percolating as usual in his evergreen maksoum recipe, Amr Diab booked a very high spot on the charts with two commercial songs– one for a telecom giant and the other for a real estate powerhouse.
In the telecom ad, Diab impresses in Shokran Min Hina Li Bokra (Thank you – from now till tomorrow), which features Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and his family.
The attractive persistence of repeating the word ‘Taala’ (“come”) in the chorus caused the public to make comparisons in memes between this song and Ruby’s Estanna (Wait).
Singer-actress Ruby hit Ramadan running with a jingle and a starring role in the TV series.
The TV series is titled Hadret El-Omda (Mr. Mayor) and is written by veteran journalist and author Ibrahim Issa and directed by Adel Adeeb.
The show’s music scores were composed by Shady Moanes, while its theme song – Elly Yehry Yehry (Let [haters] Talk) – is performed by Medhat Saleh. Ayman Bahgat wrote the lyrics of the song.
The show apparently didn’t stir the usual controversy expected from Issa’s writings, likely because the viewers were busy watching another ‘Omda’.
The theme song Ana Qader (I can) for the popular TV series Gaafar El-Omda (Gaafar the Mayor), starring Mohamed Ramadan, is among the season’s highlights.
The song garnered eight million views on YouTube alone since released on Mohamed Ramadan’s 14.7-million-subscriber channel on 11 March.
Ana Qader is performed by the singer-turned-actor Ahmed Saad, who released other successful songs within the same show, such as Meen Fina, Aaly El-Maqam, Zay El-Barood and other releases.
Ana Qader is arranged by mahraganat and rap by producer Coolpix Boy, with lyrics written by poet Hisham El-Gakh whose voice was featured in the song.
El-Gakh also made a lovable appearance as an actor this Ramadan, playing the role of Saber in the TV series Serro El-Batea.
Khaled Youssef and Rageh Daoud
Serro El-Batea – a comeback production for director Khaled Youssef after years in hiatus away from all screens – became a trending topic for many discussions during the season, especially those connected to the music of Rageh Daoud.
Backed by many acclaimed musicians, the prominent composer protested the addition of music he didn’t compose in the series, as well as using his previous compositions from the duo’s 2008 collaboration: El-Rayes Omar Harb.
Youssef responded by saying that he respects Daoud, stressing that his use of music from previous films was justified by “the lack of scores provided by the composer”.
The show features Hussein Fahmy, Khaled El-Sawy, Ahmed Abdel-Aziz, Hanan Metaweh, Ahmed Fahmy, Amr Abd El-Guelil, Ahmed El-Sa'dany, Hisham El-Gakh, and others.
Based on Youssef Idris’ short story Serr El-Sultan, Serro El-Batea marks the return of the director in his first-ever TV series that “could be his last,” according to his recent statements.
While praised by a few for patriotic reasons, the show was artistically criticised for other elements like casting, costumes, décor and cinematography.
In any case, the theme of the 30-episode star-dubbed show features none other than the King: Mohamed Mounir.
The ‘King’ is everywhere
Mounir, dubbed King by hardcore fans, had a powerful presence on the silver screen this Ramadan.
In addition to We-Leil Yegeeb (The Night Brings) of Serro El-Batea, he performs another theme for Nelly Karim’s TV series Omla Nadra (Rare Coin).
Mounir also promotes various products in multiple advertisement jingles, including one for a major bank and another for a cooking oil brand as well as three different real estate companies.
Tributes to the Holy Month
This Ramadan, Tamer Hosny released a new song that celebrates the holy month titled ‘Ramadan Kareem’.
The song carries the same title as the 2017 popular song by Hakim, which he made for the hit TV series.
Ramadan Kareem’s second season is airing, and Hakim’s song is promising to be among Ramadan’s playlist for years to come.
This year saw other songs celebrating the Holy Month by Sufi chanters like Yassin El-Tohamy and Wael El-Fashny, as well as Shaabi singers Hoda Bondok and Tarek El-Sheikh
Bondok has trended with multiple songs in Mostafa Shaaban’s TV series Baba El-Magal.
An up-and-coming Shaabi star, Bondok is reunited with Shaaban 11 years after starring as a child with him in the 2012 hit comedy El-Zoga El-Rab'aa (The Fourth Wife).
Indies in Itching
Other music highlights of the season include multiple releases by various indie artists such as Massar Egbari and El-Waili – both of whose songs were included as part of the soundtrack of the TV series El-Harsha El-Sab'a (The Seven-Year Itch).
Starring Amina Khalil and Mohamed Shahin, El-Harsha El-Sab'a was written by Mariam Naoum and directed by Karim El-Shenawy. Khaled Al-Kammar wrote the music for the show.
Critics have lavished praise on El-Harsha El Sab'a which is likely to be among their top choices of the season besides Mona Zaki’s Taht El-Wesaya.
What Happened in Gamassa?
Among the most viewed shows of the season is El-Sofara (The Whistle) that ended while viewers are still wondering about what happened in Gamasa.
However, Ahmed Amin’s duet with Hisham Abbas in the series theme song ‘Ya Halaolao’, which was written by Aziz El-shafei, is still viral.
Amin has released a few other cool songs throughout the series such as El-Qershein (Two Pennies) and Baba.
Other successful jingles featured superstars such as Ramy Sabry, Hussein El-Jassmi and Donia Samir Ghanem. The latter is currently trending for successful releases within her show Gat Salima (Nothing Happened).
Top rapper Wegz teamed up with iconic composer Omar Khairat in an out of-the-box mix promoting a giant telecom, which amused the public.
Popular singer and actor Hamada Helal returned with his TV series El-Maddah (The Chanter) for a third season, releasing multiple successful songs.
Last but not least, Ahmed Mekky is viral this Ramadan after the versatile actor returned with a seventh season of the fan-favourite surrealist comedy show El-Kabeer Awi. As a gifted rapper Mekki’s rap song Wal’ana – which accompanies the series – is among the highlights of the season.