The Egyptian musicians' union has banned artists from an electro musical movement from performing on stage, saying the lyrics of their songs too vulgar for this conservative country.
The ban, announced late Sunday evening in a union press release, targets all the artists of the popular electro movement "mahraganat", and comes a few days after a concert in Cairo by one of its most popular artists, Hassan Chakouch.
Hassan Chakouch, performer of "Bint al-Giran" ("The girl next door") which garnered more than 100 million views on Youtube, drew the wrath of the authorities after a concert last Friday which filled a Cairo stadium. During this concert, 60,000 fans took over the lyrics of his song "I drink alcohol and I smoke hashish".
The "mahraganat" - which means "festival" in Arabic - has become the most popular musical style in Egypt. From the end of the 2000s, the movement, also known as the "electro-chaâbi", developed from the working-class neighborhoods of Cairo.
Using free or inexpensive software, the young musicians remixed traditional Egyptian music with electronic sounds while being inspired by the rhythm of rappers.
But its detractors believe that the "mahraganat" is devoid of the sentimental qualities of pop music that dominated the previous decades in Egypt.
In its statement, which caused an uproar on social networks, the musicians' union said that "legal proceedings" will be launched against establishments - cafes, clubs, hotels - hosting artists of the movement.
"This kind of music that is full of sexual allusions and foul language is totally unacceptable. That is why we have put an end to it once and for all," Hany Shaker told a television program. head of the union under the Ministry of Culture.
"It is a terrible social phenomenon of which the Egyptian families complain," added Monday AFP Tarek Mortada, spokesman for the union.
Hassan Chakouch's manager has apologized. "We are sincerely sorry for our mistake and we respect the union's decision," he told AFP on Monday, blaming the words on account of a technical problem.
"We lost 17 concert dates last night in addition to the emotional stress experienced by Chakouch and the team with all the reactions and comments on our music," said the manager.
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