Still from the song on YouTube
A song titled ‘Motamaredeen’ (‘Rebels’) uploaded to YouTube on 28 June by a group of Egyptian vocalists aims to support the anti-government ‘Rebel’ (tamarod) campaign with music.
The nine vocalists in the video are part of Zajel, a newly-formed group. Members are professional singers, some are graduates of the Cairo Conservatory or the Music Education Faculty in Zamalek, while some have studied Arabic music.
"Also all of us are currently members of A Cappella Choir operating under the Cairo Opera House," Shehab Ezzat, one of the Zajel members tells Ahram Online.
He explains that the name Zajel comes from an Arabic word for a carrier pigeon. "We are a total of eleven singers and we want to use our musical expertise and to send messages across the country," Ezzat added.
As such, the group decided to compose a song that would support the Rebel campaign. "We try to fuse Oriental and Western music in our compositions. We sing mostly in Arabic, as is the case with Motamaredeen."
Motamaredeen is the first song by the group. The group is working on a bigger project called ‘the Zajel network’ aimed at connecting with many artists across the Arab world, through a website that is still under construction.
The lyrics of the song were written by Bahaa Ayoub, one of the Zajel members, while director Tamer Ashry, another member, helped to create the video.
"We are all friends," Ashry revealed to Ahram Online. "We put this song together rather fast, in less than a week. Most people worked as volunteers. In addition, we were supported by many other people. Even the studio where we shot the clip helped by giving us special prices."
Ashry stresses that the group wanted to express their support for the Rebel campaign while setting the claims of the revolutionaries into an artistic musical context.
"I chose the setting of the musical theatre," Ashry explains. The simple artistic vocabulary used in the song gives the statements pronounced by the singers a particular power.
The overlapping voices grow in number and power as a variety of simple claims build-up the song. "We were silent all this time, but now we became rebels," are among the words of the song. "I am not an infidel, I am an artist," the lyrics continue.
"We are not part of the Tamarod core team," Ashry concludes. "But as Egyptians and young people, we fully support the movement and embrace all the statements made by Tamarod."