Echoes of the Battle

By Ahmed Naji
Translated by Humphrey Davies

Mahraganat music has provoked a major debate between its detractors and its supporters. It has gained huge listening and viewing percentages and been subjected to violent attack from the media and officialdom. In this article, writer and music critic Ahmed Naji examines the growth, evolution, production models, and most prominent makers of Mahraganat, as well as the paths it is taking toward becoming an established musical genre integrated with other forms of local and world music.

Commercial singers feel an earthquake under their feet, and struggle to understand why mahraganat is more in demand than “real songs.” The middle-class media platforms will continue to describe them as artistically decadent. They will make no effort to hide their contempt for and mockery of the class and cultural level of mahraganat singers and the residential districts from which they hail.’

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