Video

Watch Videos From Cairo's Underground Music Festival, Masāfāt

The Masāfāt Festival was a four-day event in Cairo full of experimental music, panel talks, and film screenings.

Things are still pretty difficult in Egypt right now. A quick glance at the headlines these past few days finds the government telling citizens not to speak to foreign pollsters, the repression of journalists, and the prohibition independent non-governmental groups. But life goes on, and in the capital city of Cairo, people are finding their way.


In September, the four-day-long Masāfāt festival proved that modern culture is still vibrant and progressive there. The event featured a number of experimental and electronic musicians, panel discussions on art and music, and a series of film screenings. It was paired with a sister festival in London that covered many similar artists and topics, spreading their message globally.

Masāfāt was organized by Thirty Three Thirty Three, a music and art events company, in partnership with a number of other groups. One of those teams was Boiler Room, who were on site, as always, to capture the moment on video for the world to stream. Last night they posted the archives of some of the event's key musical performances. (Boiler Room makes a special point of thanking VENT for the musical assist.) Take a look below at the artist streams.

LAFAWNDAH

Sami Baha

Ola Saad

Nur

C39S31

Dawsha

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6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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