A year ago, a very interesting song called “Yama Dagit” was aired on Egyptian music channels and the artist behind the song was called Azzam. The song had a groovy bass line and beat, very funky guitar riffs and keyboard chords and surprisingly…a rababa, a nay and upper Egyptian (se3eedy) vocals!
We were very curious about the song and the artist, so we decided to do some research and what we have discovered might be a BIG turning point in the history of Egyptian music.
This song is part of a project called Zenouba; an album that features talented, authentic and folkloric musicians from all over Egypt. This musical project, led by Ahmed Azzam, aims to reproduce and innovate these Egyptian roots into a modern sound with electronic music. And the main goal behind this project was to
…show people the truth, that it has in fact, not been lost, and though we might live in a ‘globalized’ world today, we can forever maintain and understand our roots and identity – through music. Furthermore, we can export our culture to the world with a new refined image that would help bridge the gap between the Middle Eastern and Western cultures.
And the secret behind Zenouba and Azzam, the great discovery we came across, was Hybrid Records.
Hybrid Records is an Egyptian record label based in Cairo and San Fransisco dedicated to take Egyptian music to the next level. And according to their website, they sum up the idea of the label by defining their goal as the following:
“To overcome cultural barriers through a marriage of eastern and western art, music, and film, giving back a sense of pride to the Egyptian people and excavating Egypt’s ancient treasures that have been buried for far too long”
The label also has set some objectives they would like to achieve and has put them clearly on their website:
- Renovating and innovating Egyptian musical heritage
- Promoting intercultural exchange
- Educating Egyptian society about their own culture
- Promoting Egypt’s true national image abroad
- Developing local talents that have no chance of commercial exposure
- Promoting the Middle Eastern culture and roots to the western audience
- Bridging the gap between Middle Eastern and Western Cultures
The label was founded by Ahmed Azzam and Mohamed Ghorab. Two people with a great experience in music and media production and a history that speaks for itself. The label has a lot of various musicians like Naseer Shamma, Digla and Hisham Kharma and have already released 14 albums (that you can check out and buy from here).
A label like this marks a huge step in the Egyptian music industry and can not be denied what so ever. It will definitely help export Egyptian local talents, retrieve our lost wonderful folklore and save the Egyptian music and its identity.
Hybrid Records is the rebirth of Egyptian music.
We will be covering a lot things about the label, its founders, artists and albums in upcoming posts. We will also have an interview with the man behind the Hybrid Records sound and the Zenouba project, Ahmed Azzam.
So stay tuned, this is only the beginning.