Taking a look at Egypt and the Eurovision Song Contest
On July 23rd Egyptians around the world celebrate the anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 which led to the declaration of the modern republic we know today.
Although having never competed at Eurovision, the Mediterranean nation is in fact eligible for participation being part of the European Broadcasting Union since 1985. Despite never gracing the Eurovision stage there have been some notable Egyptian influences at the contest.
Let's have a look:
Samira Said - Bitaqat Hub (1980)
The dual nationality Moroccan-Egyptian pop star Samira Said (then Samira Bensaïd) represented her home country of Morocco during their one and only appearance at Euovision in 1980 with 'Bitaqat Hub'. Then and now a resident of Cairo the singer has gained momentum in the Egyptian-Arabic music industry with hits such as 'Lilah Habeebee', 'Ben Lef' and 'Akher Hawa'.
Mahmood - Soldi (2019)
Born in Milan to an Egyptian father and a Sardinian mother Mahmood grew up immersed in "Arabic music tapes of [his] father's and Lucio Battisti".
'Soldi' walks a delightful line fusing contemporary Italian pop, trap and traditional Arabic instrumentation. 'Soldi' marked an iconic moment for Italian music being the first Sanremo winner to feature Arabic lyrics and just one of four Eurovision entries in history.
Although emotionally charged lyrically - it's undeniable the Arabian music influence was well received at Eurovision and is influential to Mahmood.
Efendi - Cleopatra (2020)
Produced a few seas over from Cairo - Azerbaijan pulled out all the stops with this ethno-pop number inspired by Egyptian ruler Cleopatra featuring an Oud (a pear-shaped-guitar-type-thing) which is found also in a lot of Egyptian music.
Efendi states "..the song [is] about trusting your gut instinct, standing up for yourself and being a “queen” - even when things get tough and especially if someone betrays or hurts you. It is truly a song about freedom, a celebration of all cultures and all sexualities and it's a song that is meant to inspire people to be who they are and to be proud of themselves - just as Cleopatra was. She was a queen who went through love, heartbreak, and betrayal, but she stood up for herself and is now remembered as an icon of strength and femininity."
Will Egypt ever compete at Eurovision? It's a mystery and probably not something we will receive and answer for any time soon. If they were to compete who would you love to see represent the desert nation?