Some recipes can never go wrong. Here´s one of them: shaabi (popular/street dance of Egypt) + Lecture + Love in Savannah, USA. Sweeter than a southern pumpkin pie.
Joana Saahirah of Cairo in Savannah, USA – Shaabi, Lecture and Love.
A sneak peak at the fabulous event organized by Yara Dance:
Shaabi, particularly the modern Shaabi highly influenced by the West and the computer generation that created the “maraghanat” (festivals; street parties with djs), is a style that got under my skin without my permission. I – really – didn´t see it coming.
Here´s why: I don´t identify with most of the music which is produced within this style – the monotony, predictability and repetition of the melodies; the highly computerized patterns (made by machines, not musicians); the poor, decadent lyrics that often celebrate what I despise (sexual harassment, violence, drugs and rock n´roll made in Egypt).
Another side of Shaabi caught my heart: the raw exposure of stuff we usually don´t consider as artistic material: frustration – social, political and personal -, rage, sadness & madness twisted into one single bombshell, honesty, transcended violence, the shadow, the darker side of life.
Let me remind you Shaabi is what common Egyptians – from the lower class, in particular – do when they are celebrating or trying to forget their reality (aka evasion or the attempt to avoid twisting somebody´s neck). Baladi weddings in the street, neighborhood parties, the “patios” where Egyptian DJs are crowned as the new musicians (????). What a mess.
Shaabi can be interesting indeed. Despite my reservations.
Good shaabi songs, like the one you can see in the video, embody local musical elements that are very close to the – underground – Egyptian heart. For instance, elements from the “mawalid” (celebrations of figures of Islam), the “zaar” (ritualistic dance which is supposed to release people from “djinns”/evil spirits), even from “Sufi” (an arm of Islam) music. Local elements mixed with an egyptian version of western music – outch!It can be a disaster, as it happens in most cases, but it can also be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
The POWER of DOING – or being pushed to do, as it happened in this case – never ceases to amaze me: when you decide to give it a try and you put all you´ve got into a subject, even a subject you swore you disliked with all your guts, Magic happens. New doors open. Love, expanded & judgement free, takes place in your life.
There, I said it: I am in love.
Some more Shaabi magic – performance in a show at the Portuguese television.