Egypt 2: Cairo – Hollywood of the Middle East
By the mid 20th century, Cairo had become the unrivaled center for music and film production in the Middle East. Producers, writers, composers, actors, musicians, star singers, and creators of every stripe flocked here to take part in the city’s fervent, international, progressive artistic milieu. This was the heyday of the diva Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and the beloved singer and composer Abdel Halim Hafez. But events of the 50s and 60s signaled an inward turn for Egypt and Cairo. The 70s saw the rise of a rougher, more street-wise music–sha’bi–and films began to lose their edge. And the 80s saw the emergence of a slick new pop sound that has resonated in the Middle East ever since. We hear from artists, producers, and scholars in this unique Hip Deep edition.