As a music lover, I’m not too happy with our ignorance of many young and talented Egyptian musicians. Our pop music scene is disgraceful to say the least. I personally choose to ignore the actual music scene and pretend that the underground scene is the real deal. Even though we might have never heard of some of these bands and singers, they are internationally known, and most certainly should be known here. The list could easily have over 50 artists who deserve to be on it, but I thought to really narrow it down to the best of the best.
Death Metal might not be for everyone. Whether you love or hate it, you’ve got to respect this band. The band was formed in 2006, released 2 albums including an EP, and are about to release their new album this month. They also performed in 2 international festivals, and played along some of the biggest bands in the world – including Amon Amarth, Carcass, My Dying Brid, Dimmu Borgir, Motörhead, Opeth, Arch Enemy and Chimaira, Warbringer, Anathema, Aura Noir and Lake of Tears.
2- Massive Scar Era
The once all girls, Post Hardcore band, was formed in 2005. They were the center of attention for the movie “Microphone”. The band changed since, and now has 2 new male members, but their music is still just as good. With 4 EP albums up their sleeves, like Scarab, they opened for some big names- including Dream Theater, Inflames, Immortal , The Devil Wears Prada, MotörHead, August Burns Red, and many more.
I’m usually not a fan of “Arabic rock”. I don’t get it; it just doesn’t fit. This band, however, are an exception. They’ve played in many festivals in Egypt and have a solid fanbase.
4- أوركسترا البرنجان AKA High on Body Fat
Music that makes you laugh your butt off, what more could we ask for? They boomed when they made an appearance on Arab’s Got Talent. Even though their main focus is the comedy in their songs, they are actually talented musicians. Some may find their songs quite offensive, but I guarantee they still have a good laugh.
5- The Cadillacs
As much as we love originals, sometimes all we need is to party and listen to some songs we already know. The Cadillacs are probably the best cover band on the scene. They mainly cover 50s Rockabilly Music – including Elvis, The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Chuck Berry. This band will surely make you dance for as long as they’re performing on stage. Let’s also give honorable credit to The Jokers; half of the band members plays there too.
6- Portrait Avenue
The Alexandrian band started jamming in 2008; they kept growing ever since. They first came to our attention when they won the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Middle East competition back in 2012; it was a much deserved win. Even though they aren’t based in Cairo, they’ve been all over the place lately, and we love it!
They claim to be one of the best and most respectful bands on the rock scene in Egypt, and we agree. The New Wave band was formed in 2006, and they’ve been performing at all the big music festivals in the country.
Speaking of EgoZ, Hany Mustafa, the band’s lead singer, has his own solo career and it’s just as good. He transforms from a crazy rock star who plays in a rock band, to an indie singer. He usually performs original songs, written by him, and the lyrics are just as beautiful as his voice. He also has a great sense of humour and makes memes about himself; how can we not love him?
9- Hassan Ramzy
The acoustic singer has the voice of an angel. He usually covers known songs, but his song choice is always spot on. Unlike previous artists, Hassan Ramzy keeps it low and gets up on stage with his guitar, sometimes with percussion.
10- Shady Ahmed
The bearded man can sing. The Rock n’roll singer has been on the scene for almost 8 years. His hit album “Life Is Hard For Those Who Dream” is probably one of the best self-produced albums in the country. Lately, he’s been working with Ousso Lotfy, one of the, if not the, best guitarists in Egypt. He also recorded some Arabic songs that are just as good.
11- RaSh Radio
His Facebook Bio says (“An Egyptian Sensation” -Identity Magazine.), and we still stand by it. The singer/guitarist/song writer/over all talented man had two of his tracks, Ghosts & Dear Butterfly, featured at The Canne Film Festival 2011. That’s a big deal! He recently released a new song called “Friendzoned”, which made us all relate to him on a personal level too.
12- Adam Awad
Adam Awad might actually be the most underrated musician. Ever. The half English/half Egyptian folk singer/songwriter is influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Fleet Foxes. That alone is enough to make us love him. Sadly, he doesn’t perform as much as we’d like him to. Please work on that, Mr. Awad.
13- Ahmed Harfoush
I’m a huge jazz fan and lately the word Jazz has become synonymous with Ahmed Harfoush. That’s a big deal! He first started with The Riff Band before going solo. Like everyone on the list, he has a great voice and knows how to pick his songs, but what makes Harfoush really unique is his presence. He’s not just a singer, he’s a performer. Even if you hate jazz, you’ll enjoy seeing him. His energy is amazing.
14- Dina El Wedidi
I’m sure most of you know her already, but I had to mention her. She started her musical career with El Warsha Theater Troupe in 2008 before she quit and started working by herself and with some great artists in the middle east, like Grammy award-winning musician Fathy Salama and singer-songwriter Kamilya Jubran. She rose to fame when she participated at “Khalina Nehlam”, with Masar Egbari, Tamer Shalaby, and Mahdi Rabeh, Anis Dridi and Mohamed Bin Jemaa. She was then selected by Gilberto Gil to be mentored by him. Finally, she took part in the Nile Project in 2013 and released 2 albums in 2015.
Yes, I know I know. You’re probably thinking what’s this DJ doing here, but please hear me out. Many people might think that electronic music isn’t hard to produce, and it’s just talent-less people goofing around with their expensive Macs. I thought so too, until I stumbled upon this dude. He’s actually a talented DJ in Egypt! Neobyrd is the alter ego for Wael Alaa, the name behind all this. He is known for his remixes for Daft Punk, Four Tet, NEUS and even Hany Shenouda. He won many awards and was behind the Axe commercial (The tazbeet one). His facebook page is also quite interesting.