Released alongside a series of stark and minimalistic music videos, showing the band sitting and performing in a darkened room, Cairokee’s newest album is as usual all about the power and depth of the lyrics, which instantly move you. “No2ta Beida” (A Drop of White) acts as a poignant commentary on the society that we live in. Amir Eid exposes the flaws present in our everyday lives, from racism to inequality, with skill and honesty.
This album in a sense serves as a mourning of the hopes and dreams that united Egypt during the Revolution. With political and social apathy gripping the Egyptian youth, who are currently being suffocated from a lack of opportunity and freedom. Hence it is more crucial than ever for young people to come together and express their frustration in a creative and eloquent manner. Radiating a level of critical thinking that we should unanimously applaud and stand behind, nuanced issues are deconstructed and presented in a thought-provoking manner.
Although a sombre tone is present throughout the majority of the album, the variety in the styles of each song showcases the fantastic range of capabilities that have helped Cairokee to lead the independent Egyptian music scene in recent years. Singer Amir Eid tells us, “It has been a journey for the last 2 years about everyday life”.
This album brings together a whole group of incredible Egyptian talents. Featuring Abdelrahman Roshdy in the album’s first track, ‘No2ta Beida’, adds a depth to the vocals that literally brings chills to the spine. With stunning collaborations with Wael El-Fashny and Tarek El-Sheikh, Cairokee give a platform to more traditional styles of Egyptian music, demonstrating their commitment to exploring the beauty of our culture and taking pride in our roots.
Nothing says more about the importance of this musical work than the fact that commercial production of the album was prevented by censorship, leading the band to release the entirety of the works via YouTube. By allowing completely free access, Cairokee show once again that musical integrity is far more important than making money. Guitarist Sherif El-Hawary reveals, “We didn’t expect this at all. The album was cornered in this particular area when it is not necessarily all about politics. There are lots of songs that discuss very different aspects of society”. According to Hawary, “The song ‘Hodna’ was banned for taking the lyrics literal rather than interpret what Amir actually sings about, which are personal struggles actually. Because the song uses the word ‘war’ it was perceived as if we are trying to encourage a certain act”.
But Cairokee seem un-phased by the censorship with Amir Eid defiantly telling us, “Nobody can tell us what to sing and what not to sing”! They are more concerned with the opinions of their listeners rather than the government. As Hawary states, “We believe the audience will be a fair judge of the art that we present. When they find something offensive they usually reject it”.
We love the album, we love Cairokee and we love an honest voice in the darkness.
Find the full album on YouTube here.
Photo Credits: Heba Begawi