The collaboration marks the second phase of Cairo Calling, a collaboration between Rinse FM and the British Council that pairs UK producers with musicians from Egypt’s mahraganat music scene (a.k.a. electro-shaabi), a contemporary take on Egyptian folk music that combines samples of traditional instruments with frenetic time signatures. Ultimately, the aim is to record an album, with a documentary also planned for Rinse TV.
The first collaborations took place in the UK, and saw Faze Miyake, Kode9 and Artwork collaborate with mahraganat artists Figo, Sadat, Diesel and Knaka. Now, it’s the turn of UK producers to head East. We spoke to Mumdance – a.k.a. Jack Adams – to find out a little more about the project.
“Although I was following the project and the music it I wasn’t actually involved, I literally got the call to go two days before”, he explains. “I jumped at the chance!”
“It’s been absolutely amazing, all the Mahraganat MCs and musicians are extremely talented & recording with them is a pleasure”, he continues.
“When I worked with Sadat he literally would do three tracks in a row, one take, completely flawlessly with no mistakes. It’s quite a mad experience to have to use a translator to communicate to the artist you are working with, and there were a few things lost in translation, but that made it all the more interesting.”
In terms of the biggest surprises, Adams remarks that “it’s crazy how big they are in Egypt. When we walked down the road they were mobbed with people wanting to have a photo, literally everywhere you go you hear their music being played, out of all the tuc tucs, cars, shops – they are superstars.”
Expect a Mumdance mix of Mahraganat music soon.