A photo from one of Hamza Namira s latest performances
Namira’s new album quickly become among the trending music topics in Egypt only hours after its release. This album is Namira’s first to come out in two years after his last album, ‘Mawlood Sanat 80,’ which had been a huge success and topped the charts for months.
A unique album, Namira Lounge features instrumental Takht arrangements for eight of Namira’s most successful compositions: ‘Fady Shewaya’, ‘Ma’lesh’, ‘El Qessa’, ‘Dari Ya Alby’, ‘Esta’izo’, ‘Feh Nas’, ‘Ta’am El-Be’ad’ and ‘Balady ya Balady’.
The album is produced by Mohamed Ali – who is also the violin soloist in the album – who was able to evoke in the listener feelings of nostalgia for the music of the past through an acoustic experience that is inspired by the sound of the early recordings of Egyptian music in the first half of the 20th century.
Namira Lounge features skillful instrumentalists Hesham Essam (oud), Mahmoud Amer (qanun), Ahmed Amin (double bass), Mohamed Farag (Nai) and Abdel-Azeem Azema (percussions).
“The idea of Namira Lounge haunted me for years. I aim to revive the concept of a music album in which the audience do not need singing to enjoy the listening experience,” Namira told Ahram Online on Sunday, adding that “the oriental takht theme reflects the magic of the music of the good old days”.
Ahmed Nady, the art director, created visuals for the album that include light-animated characters portraying musicians playing in various locations of Egypt’s royal era -- themselves another nod to the past that invokes nostalgia to a golden era gone by.
“In designing the characters, we were inspired by iconic musicians like members of Umm Kulthum’s orchestra as well as composers Mohamed El-Qasabgi and Zakariyya Ahmad,” Nady commented to Ahram Online.
The founder of Nady Studio, which previously directed animation music videos like Hamaki’s ‘Law Hatsib’ and Zena Emad’s ‘El-warda El-baida’, added that “familiar locations like Farouk and El-Fishawy Café, Port Said harbor and Ramses train Station were selected to emphasise the nostalgic theme”. The visuals were directed and edited by Yasser Azmy.
Focusing on social topics, Namira, 42, who launched his indie path in Alexandria alongside many underground musicians and singers, gained fame early last decade. Patriotic and dreamy anthems, such as ‘Ensan’ and ‘Ehlam Ma'ya,’ brought Namira into the mainstream during extraordinary political circumstances.
In recent years, Namira, who recently went on a musical tour of the Arab world, Europe and the US, has become one of the most popular Egyptian singers. His songs diverge widely from mainstream songs: lacking pop’s love stories or rap’s pride and prejudice.
Namira’s channel on YouTube has over 4.2 million subscribers. His most streamed song is ‘Dary Ya Alby’ (release in February 2018) with 348 million viewers on YouTube alone followed by ‘Fady Shewaya’ (released in December 2020) with 247 million views.