Egyptian singers spread gratitude, hope amid pandemic

Egyptian singers spread gratitude, hope amid pandemic
A picture taken on April 18, 2020 show the Great pyramids lighten-up with blue light and reading with a laser projection the message "Stay Home" on the Giza plateau outside the Egyptian capital of Cairo, on the world heritage day, as the country fights against the spread of the COVID-19, (the novel coronavirus). (AFP)
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Updated 19 April 2020

Egyptian singers spread gratitude, hope amid pandemic

Egyptian singers spread gratitude, hope amid pandemic
  • Medhat Saleh recorded a video of his song “The People in the White Coat”
  • Famed singer Hany Shaker made a song called the “White Army of Egypt"

CAIRO: In support of health care workers fighting on the frontlines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egyptian singers are expressing their gratitude by doing what they do best — singing.

Crooner Medhat Saleh recorded a video of his song “The People in the White Coat.” Written by Omar Taher and composed by Aziz Shafei, the video attracted thousands of viewers on social media and YouTube.

Saleh said he was happy to make the song in collaboration with composer Shafei. In a phone-in with a TV talk show, Saleh sent a message to doctors: “You are in our hearts and we are thankful for your efforts.”

Shafei posted a comment under the video of the song on YouTube, referring to the song as a “small dedication” to “our beloved doctors and medical teams.”

Saleh also sang “Egypt's White Army” in honor of the medical teams battling against the pandemic.

The song was written by Amir Taema and composed by Khaled El-Guindy and Yasser Maguid. The video was directed by Hana Hafez.

Famed singer Hany Shaker, head of the Musicians Union, thanked health care workers, saying that the “white army” in Egypt was making history not only in their country but all across the Arab world. He also hailed Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed, as well as the police and army for their efforts in countering the virus.

Shaker, who rose to fame in the 1970s, recently released the new song “Pray for Egypt” on his official YouTube account. The song features lyrics by Ahmed Sheta and music by Walid Mounir.

Egyptian folk singer Mohamed Adawya and Moroccan singer Jannat released “Our Country’s Heroes,” with lyrics by Tamer Hussein and music by Aziz Shafei. It was directed by Akram Farouk and produced by political party Mostaqbal Watan (Future of a Nation). The song hails the doctors in hospitals working side by side with the army and the police in battling the pandemic.

Adawya said that he did not expect the song to be such a hit. He added that he was happy to be able to make this “humble contribution,” which he described as a “gift to the warriors who are directly fighting the virus across the country and risking their lives.” He recorded and shot the song in less than 24 hours.

Cairo-based Moroccan vocalist Samira Said released the song “Crazy Reality” on her official social media accounts and on YouTube. She said that she recorded the song only a few months ago and found the present time to be good opportunity to release it.

The song’s Lebanese director Nedal Hany said the video was shot in 14 hours in Said’s home in Cairo. 

Around 12 such songs have been released in Egypt so far and experts predict that these nationalistic refrains will be around for quite some time.

Many singers across the Arab world also released similar songs, including Lebanese artists Marwan Khoury and Ragheb Allama and Emirati singer Hussein El-Jasmy.

Yasmine Farrag, a professor of art critique at the Arts Academy, dubbed these releases “songs of the situation,” saying that the phenomenon of responding to major events or catastrophes — such as pandemics or wars — was not new.

“Those who produce such songs do not aim to add them to their traditional musical repertoire. They also do not expect that people will continue to listen to these songs for a long time since they are linked to particular events,” Farrag said.

She explained that social media contributed to a great extent in promoting such songs and believed this to be a positive aspect. She added that there were other types of creative productions, which she called “spontaneous songs” and which were performed by non-professionals within the same context, reflecting the people’s awareness of the severity of the situation. However, Farrag said these songs often did not gain the same media attention.