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Political Humor in Egyptian Popular Music

April 1, 2013

Continuing to think about the role of humor in Egypt’s ongoing revolution, I’m intrigued by some of the funnier mahragan (“festival”) music that directly mocks or comments on politics. A great example is “Morsico Systems” by Ahmed Samih.

I learned of this piece from Ted Swedenburg, who writes:

[M]ahragan artists are also more than willing to aim their barbs at figures of authority, including Egypt’s post-revolution, popularly elected president, Muhammed Mursi. “Morsico Systems” from mahragan artist Ahmad Samih sets a presidential speech to a sha‘bi beat, and splices Mursi’s sonorous message together with autotuned, impertinent commentary. To Mursi’s claim that “there is support for that,” meaning for his regime’s “organization,” the singer replies, “There is an elephant.” The recording goes on to repeat and counterpose the words of Mursi and the singer, “support” and “elephant,” several times, reducing the president’s intonations to nonsense.

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