So let me start this article by saying that I genuinely dislike “sha’aby” music. Never liked it, never will, and not even as a joke. However, whether we like it or not, it is a form of music.
As of recently, the name “Magdy Shatta” has been circulating, and quickly became one of the top sha’aby musicians in the country. But as quickly as he rose to fame, he’s often been attacked.
Recap of what happened
On February the 18th, 2019, Shatta was invited on Al Nahar’s show “Wahed mn el Nas”, alongside music composer Helmy Bakr. The interview was as awkward as you can imagine, but also completely unfair from Mr. Bakr’s side.
Bakr was shown a video of Shatta’s musical rival Hamo Bika, and was distressed from the singing. After the video, Mr. Bakr went to insult both Hamo Bika and Shatta, and claims they are not even musicians.
Bakr compared the singing to the Vikings music, which literally does not make any sense. He compared it to the horns calling and criticized their hairstyles; which again does not make sense.
He later starts questioning if singing is performed by one’s hair or vocals; which is an issue that no one ever brought up except for him. Maybe he should be asking himself that, and not Shatta, but let’s move on.
The video shown is also an obvious jamming session which was done in what it looks like someone’s house and not a studio. Bakr starts asking, however, if this would be edited and released as a full song? Which again, no one claimed it would, except for him.
Bakr starts screaming NO hysterically, and the host – Amr Ellissy, who usually is a great host, but we feel like he failed in his job during this interview -asked him to say his opinion.
He says he doesn’t have an opinion, and the opinion is up to Shatta, who replies saying “I’m not Helmy Bakr, I’m Magdy Shatta.” A fair reply.
Bakr still continues to belittle Shatta, and goes as far as saying he, and Hamo Bika, don’t need the Syndicate of Musicians, but they need the police.
Why this interview took place, to begin with
The pair were interviewed together because Sha’aby musicians have been fighting to have their concerts since they are not a part of the Syndicate of Musicians.
No official reason has been given, except for the officials’ dislike for the singers.
We have to mention that Helmy Bakr is, in fact, a great musician – no disagreeing on that. With that said, it does not make him a musical god. More importantly, it does not give him the right to insult someone he disagrees with on live TV.
Honestly, it’s great that Magdy Shatta laughed it off, and did not start a screaming match with “Mr. Bakr.” God knows we would have.
Everything wrong with this feud
I’m not a musician, nor do I know the rules of applying for the Syndicate of Musicians. I don’t know if Shatta and Bika are fit the criteria or not, nor do I care.
What I do care about is not watching TV and seeing someone as entitled as Bakr insult someone like Shatta, just because he thinks he is better than him.
Bakr is definitely better than Shatta, given the history of Bakr, but, again, not a reason to insult.
Shatta wants to produce music. He wants to make concerts. He wants to share his “art” with his audience, which, again, whether we like it or not, is huge.
Additionally, not once has Shatta received one valid constructive criticism from Bakr, or anyone else.
It’s time to admit, we have to accept the evolution of the Sha’aby music
Sha’aby music has always been a huge part of Egyptian culture. Like life, music is evolving, and so is Sha’aby music.
The evolving of the genre wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t well received by the audience.
Social media has been a major platform for the underprivileged musicians, who mostly lean towards sha’aby music. Their music has been widely accepted as well.
For instance, Hamo Bika has been one of the most played musicians on Soundcloud – worldwide.
The Egyptian audience wants his music, and it’s time for the Syndicate of Musicians to deal with this
The fact that the syndicate of musicians is not taking these musicians under its wing is baffling to us. They will perform, they will have fans and they will grow. Why not have it under supervision?
Whether it’s an act of classicism, or they truly don’t fit their criteria, something needs to be done.