5 Egyptian Musicians That Would Have Been Stars by Now in Any Other Country


Cairo Gossip

By Haisam Awad

July 10, 2017

Apart from Cairokee and maybe even Dina El Wedidi, there have been few bands and artists that have been able to climb the ladder between the underground and the mainstream. Massar Egbari are a few ladder rungs down and Hany Adel’s acting exploits have given his band, Wust El Balad, some attention, but mainstream acceptance has alluded so many others.

Whether they’re burdened by day-jobs and unable to take the leap of faith because of it, or their music is just a little too different for Egyptian ears, these five guys deserve more than Egypt is giving them.


There are few musicians that are as prolific as the ever-so talented and charming indie musician, Hany Mustafa. Whether flying solo as HanyMust, saluting the Beatles with cover band, Glass Onion, or rocking out with Sada That (formerly EgoZ), Mustafa is something of a musician’s musician in Egypt. As proficient on stage as he is in the studio, his various threads of musical output aren’t too alien to fans of contemporary music, but his underground status hasn’t stopped him from giving it his all with several releases over the years and a staunch commitment to gigging.


Often held up unofficially as the best guitarist in Egypt, Ousso Lotfy is already a big deal, having worked with the likes of Mohamed Mounir, Angham, Sherine and Amr Diab. But by his own admission, the mainstream Egyptian music scene isn’t his cup of tea and he’s much more at home collaborating with the likes of Shady Ahmed and Eftekasat. It goes without saying that this, for all intents and purposes,  is a darn shame; when Ousso Lotfy is free to be Ousso Lotfy, he is as engaging and skilled a musician as you’ll find in the country.


Better known as that handsome guy from The Cadillacs, Bluenotes and several other bands, George Aboutar can lay claim to being one of the most charismatic front-men on the Egyptian music scene. More than just a guitar-wielding vocalist, few can hold a crowd and look like they’re having as much fun doing so than Aboutar. Had he been born of another land, George would have been a chart-disturbing indie rebel, who’s snapped with a different model every other weekend; the kind that parents warn their children of; a proper, old-school, reckless rock star whose indiscretions are tolerated because of his talent.


Although she’s been on the scene for some time, It’s only in the last six months or so that Egypt has come to read from the gospel of Shereen Abdo. She’s the kind of singer who wears her heart on her sleeve on stage, whose pain, joy and emotion are in every one of her songs. The sultry genre-bending songstress shed the concept of genre long ago and folk, electronic, jazz, progressive rock and even metal are just a few of the sounds she has explored to great success.


There’s an argument to be made that Wael ‘NeoByrd’ Alaa is already a star – but, once again, Egypt hasn’t truly embraced him. Beyond his work in film and advertising, there’s still an untapped goldmine of music to be, well, mined, and although his albums Transbyrd and The King is Dead have been critical successes, he’s still too often referred to as that guy with the big chicken head thing or that guy that did that catchy mash-up. Maybe it’s his reluctance to be part of the local electronic music scene; maybe it’s a case of being a victim of his own grand ambitions in the arts. Either way, that guy with the big chicken head thing is a master of his craft.


Ewsal Bel3raby: a project exploring Egyptian rising musicians


Egypt Today

By: Fatma Khaled

Jul. 6, 2017

CAIRO – 6 July 2017: The 19th Corporation, an Event Management Company, launched a new project called ‘Ewsal Bela3raby’ promoting artists and talents in the Egyptian music scene nationwide.

Mohammed Lotfy, CEO of the 19th Corporation, an integrated event management company of several projects found on their website The19thcorporation.com. The company formulates its activities around the best, innovative, and creative entertainment concepts, is the man behind the idea of the project ‘Ewsal Bel3araby.

Lotfy, an Egyptian self-taught guitarist, composer, and entrepreneur, stepped on every stage with the biggest names in the music scene, including Amr Diab and Mohamed Mounir . He also composed songs for bands like Nagham Masry, Efteksat and HOH, just to mention a few. As founder of SOS Music Festival (2006-2010) which consisted of 19 editions in total, he acquired his reputation as a music maker in the country by supporting independent projects and making them emerge as part of the scene.

However, there was something missing still. Lotfy noticed the evident difficulty to learn music in Egypt and the consequent stereotyping society prints on people who want to make music their lifestyle. He was haunted by the sad reality of those who live in the remote areas of Egypt, where music is unreachable, even as a hobby, let alone as a profession.

The 19th Corporation’s latest project has been live since August 2016 and seeks to be permanent, shedding light on aspiring artists nationwide. The project allows applicants to learn by providing free online Arabic tutorials, to perform with prominent artists in Egypt and the region, and to follow up on news of music events and performances.

The project is operating online through a platform offering a Free Tutorial hub that provides a solo and jam performances library, original ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ playlists, and social networks for artists and art lovers. Other activities on the platform include ‘Jayem Ma’ana’, which is a competition that gathers musicians offering instruments as prizes, and the application of ‘El Sellem’ that generally allows rising talented artists to form a new network of their own.

The Free Hub platform presents music tutorials for 14 instruments conducted by musicians. The project is launching monthly competitions where applicants are required to film themselves playing over a backing track chosen by the website creators.

Music instructors and those who hold musical knowledge whether based in Egypt or abroad are allowed to participate in ‘Darres m3ana,’ which is one of the segments within the project. The instructors are encouraged to film their lessons and upload their videos after being verified by ‘Ewsal Bela3arby’ team.

‘Ewsal Bela3raby’ is also being implemented on ground through ‘El Sellem’ open competition, where applicants upload a one minute solo performance video on the website after which 15 to 20 applicants are chosen by judges located nationwide.

Applicants will then participate in a six-month round where they are required to come to Cairo each weekend for three months to be introduced to the music scene through one-on-one classes and workshops.

During the fourth month, applicants will be divided into two or three bands and each band will be required to prepare a 45-minutes performance. The newly formed bands will play music alongside prominent Egyptian bands such as HOH, Wust El-Balad, and Massar Egbari in the final event; a nationwide tour where ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ will visit some governorates in Egypt on a road trip where surveys will be distributed asking the residents about which band they would prefer to watch live.

The project has a target audience for each governorate ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 in governorates such as Minya and Assiut and from 3,000 to 4,000 in governorates such as Alexandria and Mansoura. The aim of the tour is to promote the newly established bands and promote ‘Ewsal Bel3araby’ in other governorates.