Playlist #14: Mahraganat Madness

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This mixtape is guest-curated by dedicated Mahraganat DJ and founder of Cairo Concepts Phill Battiekh and reflects a unique insight into his musical favourites. As Phil puts it simply -“Some of the freshest new Mahraganat tracks and some less recent gems”.

Mahraganat is electric folk music that emerged in the neighbourhoods Salam City and Matareya of Cairo and its popularity spread like wildfire throughout the Arabic speaking world. Sometimes dubbed “electro-shaabi”, Mahraganat itself means “festivals” in Arabic and the music is characterized by booming drums, minimalist synths and auto-tune that spill into the streets of Cairo from taxis and during wedding celebrations. The genre often comes under government scrutiny and divides people’s musical tastes, yet it’s bleeding synthesizers and juicy drumbeats bring the party together. 

The most famous representatives and founders range from Alaa Fifty, to Amr Haha, Figo, Hamo Beeka and Hassan Shakoush. 

Phil Battiekh is one of the first DJs outside of Egypt to dedicate himself to Mahraganat. In 2019 Battiekh published the Cairo Concepts compilation as part of a release series which reflects on appropriations and abstractions of Mahraganat.

What are MARSM Playlists?

Marsm’s bi-weekly playlists take on the musical history, trends and upcoming productions from the music scene in the Arabic-speaking countries. Each playlist focuses on a new theme, showcasing both underground and established artists – from the more dance-able to the most experimental – and everything in between.