Egypt's musicians back Rageh Daoud artistic protest against director Khaled Youssef

Eslam Omar , Tuesday 4 Apr 2023

Dozens of Egypt’s most prominent musicians - including Omar Khairat- have on Monday announced full solidarity with iconic composer Rageh Daoud in his ongoing protest against director Khaled Youssef’s soundtrack decisions in the currently-airing Ramadan season TV series Serro El-Batea.

Rageh Daoud
Rageh Daoud (File Photo: Ahram)


A campaign launched by 25 musicians -- most of whom are major composers and conductors -- began with a powerful statement that is making local and regional entertainment news headlines. The campaign is also backed by other dozens of musicians as well.

The reported signees include Nabil Ali Maher, Mahmoud Talaat, Adel Hakki, Amr Ismail, Tamer Karawan, Khaled Hammad, Hisham Gabr and Manal Mohei El-din, to name but a few.

Since the first episode of Serro El-Batea, which marked the launch of the Ramadan season two weeks ago, Rageh Daoud’s music became viral after Khaled Youssef -- the series author and director -- was criticised for using scores from the 2008 movie El-Rayes Omar Harb in which both Daoud and Youssef collaborated.

In recent days, the prominent composer has stated his protest, also criticising the use of other music pieces he didn’t even compose in the show.

In return, Youssef expressed deep respect for Daoud in a video he posted Sunday, but artistically justified his soundtrack decisions by “lack of scores provided by the composer”.

The musicians’ statement -- which was issued on Monday -- strongly supported Daoud’s argument and stressed on the importance of copyrights. It called on all media makers to respect what they referred to as the “profession’s traditions”.

The war-of-words is likely to fume in upcoming days, especially because Youssef’s potential reply could cause reactions to get out of proportion.

While praised by a few for patriotic reasons, the show was artistically criticised for other elements like casting, costumes and décor.

With Mohamed Mounir singing the theme song, the 30-episode star-dubbed 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.

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