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LISTEN: Mumdance's Mahraganat Mixtape
The Quietus , April 10th, 2014 12:02

Listen to Mumdance's new mixtape for Dummy, made up of new music recorded during Rinse FM's recent Cairo Calling project, which paired Egyptian mahraganat artists with UK-based producers

Photo: Figo and Sadat, by Al Overdrive

As we've previously reported in depth, Rinse FM and the British Council recently collaborated to put together the Cairo Calling cultural exchange project, which brought together musicians from Cairo's mahraganat scene (which has also been known as electro chaabi) with UK producers such as Hyperdub boss Kode9, Mumdance, Pinch and Faze Miyake.

While hugely famous at home, mahraganat artists have been mostly unknown outside of Egypt until relatively recently; Quietus editor John Doran traveled to Cairo in 2013 in order to report on the artists making this vibrant, heavily hybridised form of electronic dance music, which draws inspiration from both traditional Egyptian music and global strains of urban music and hip-hop. To read his full series of on-the-ground features, including a report from the raucous party for MC Sadat's wedding, click here.

The Cairo Calling project was split into two halves, with the Egyptian artists - livewire MC Sadat, scene originator Figo and Diesel and Knaka from the Madfageya crew - initially coming to London to work in the Rinse FM studios with Kode9, Artwork and Faze Miyake on collaboratively produced music. The second half found British producers Mumdance, Pinch (boss of Tectonic records) and Miyake traveling to Cairo to work together on further music while there.

Although a series of clips and videos posted to social media from the artists involved gave some idea of the music that was being produced, we've not heard any of the resulting tracks thus far. However, Mumdance has just recorded a mix for Dummy Magazine, which features a host of new tracks - the tracklist features collaborations between Mumdance, Sadat, Figo, Alaa Fifty Cent and more, and a formidable sounding joint track by Pinch, Islam Chipsy and Sadat. For the full tracklist, to listen and download the mixtape, and to read Dummy's interview with Mumdance about the project, click here.

"Since Egypt's stuttering revolution, mahraganat has become a major underground movement," wrote the Quietus' Josh Hall in his feature covering the first leg of the Cairo Calling project. "The state censored mass media refuses to play the genre and, until recently, electro chaabi was not welcome in the clubs or hotels. In response, electro chaabi artists began pitching up at weddings, which they promptly turned into Egyptian street versions of all-night free parties. Mahraganat requires only a DJ, an MC and a sound system, making it a cheaper and increasingly popular alternative to the traditional live band. The groundswell of popular support for mahraganat, however, has very rapidly pushed the genre outwards from the streets of El Salam City onto the streets of Cairo, and now onto the streets of the Gulf. Today, the artists say, they play 2,000 capacity ticketed concerts."

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