<b>Egypt's Pop-music Clashes and the ‘world-crossing’ Destinies of Muhammad ‘ali Street Musicians</b>

Nicolas Puig

in Cairo Cosmopolitan

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162893
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970269 | DOI:
Egypt's Pop-music Clashes and the ‘world-crossing’ Destinies of Muhammad ‘ali Street Musicians

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The suq al-musiqiyyin (the musicians' market) in Cairo refers to the social space of popular-class (sha'bi) urban music, the live music played at weddings but also at mulids (Sufi saint's festival). This is a vernacular genre that is defined in a distinctive realm of musical training, social affiliations, and professional practices. These musicians of the suq have developed a specific urban subculture concentrated in a few cafés of Muhammad 'Ali Street. However, these musicians are quite stigmatized by the rest of Cairo inhabitants as a group of outsiders with very low social status. Their presentation of musical styles or cultural promotions, results in the “folklorization” of rural music and the stigmatization of urban music and of popular-class musicians in general. It is this struggle for collective survival, recognition, and markets in a spatially fragmented and class-segmented city that this chapter discusses.

Keywords: suq al-musiqiyyin; Cairo; social space; sha'bi; mulids; urban subculture; Muhammad 'Ali Street; folklorization; rural music; urban music

Chapter.  9102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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