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Al-Masrieen band: enchanting melodies

 Last night at the Sawy Culture Wheel, Al-Masrieen band played their old time favorites.

Egyptian band Al-Masrieen played their first come-back concert in Cairo to enthusiastic cheers and applause from a smitten audience of all ages, who swayed and sang along to the much-loved tunes played by the band. Founder and music composer Hani Shnouda, and lead singer Iman Younis, the only two remaining original band members, took to the stage with a handful of younger, talented new members.

Known for their original tunes and novel lyrics, this ‘Egyptian pop’ (Epop) band captured the essence of Egyptian society through a decade of songs dealing with the daily life of Egyptians, as opposed to more usual dramatic love themes. With six successful albums in a period of ten years and incorporating lyrics by vernacular poetry icon Salah Jaheen and poet Morsi El-Sayed, the band inspired generations. In addition to developing a musical shift from monophonic (music with one dominant melodic voice) to polyphonic (consisting of two or more independent melodic voices), which Shnouda demonstrated to the enchanted audience last night, Al-Masrieen  band became a national hit that rocked the Egyptian music scene from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.

Yesterday, after almost twenty years away from the public scene, Iman Younis’s warm voice still enchanted the audience, taking them back to their childhood memories. Songs such as Banat Keteer (A Lot of Girls), Mashia el-Sanyoura (The Passing of el-Sanyoura), Mama Setto (Grandmother), and many others were enjoyed by an exultant audience who demanded specific songs, requested encores and sang along in a loud voice.

For those of you who grew up on such songs but never got a chance to attend any of Al-Masrieen’s concerts, the band are playing again on 8 January at the Cairo Opera House.

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