Arabic Language Blog

Mahraganaat Music أغاني المهرجانات – Part 1 Posted by on Feb 7, 2022 in Arabic Language, comprehension, Culture, Music, News, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

In today’s blog post, we’re going to talk about a specific musical genre نوع من الموسيقى that has recently emerged ظهرت مؤخرًا within the music industry مجال صناعة الموسيقى in Egypt. This trend توجّه is called Mahraganat Music/ songs موسيقى/أغاني المهرجانات. This blog post series will explore this term, its meaning & its purpose as well as study a specific track (in part 2 & 3).

Photo by Marcela Laskoski on Unsplash


The word

It means in English> “Festivals”. It’s the plural of Mahragaan مهرجان “a festival”.

*Pronunciation in Standard Arabic:

> in Egyptian Arabic:



It’s believed that it’s called ‘festivals music’ due to the happy, exciting atmosphere it creates. This is why it is often played often in weddings.

This type of music is usually quick-paced سريعة الإيقاع loud/latterting صاخِبة.

It can also be considered> Shaabi music موسيقى شعبية . Shaabi شعبي mean ‘of the people’ and it refers to music that is done by people, for people, played in local neighbourhoods/ streets, etc. It also sounds like some digital/ electronic instruments were utilised in making of it.

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The Message 

It’s often composed and performed by young people (males) in a small, modest studios. It can be seen as way in which young people can express their feelings and frustration about everyday life problems, such as: friendship الصّداقة, betrayal الخيانة, poverty الفقر and drugs المخدّرات. These topics are clearly referred to in the lyrics that uses simple, everyday words – mostly slang terms though; a feature that could make it a bit difficult (even for Arabs/ non-Egyptians) to understand.

As is the case with anything new, this music has been heavily criticised انْتُقِدَتْ بِشِدّة. You can read more about the constant attempts by the Musicians’ union to ban this ‘controversial’ type of music لِحظر هذا النوع المثير للجدل من الموسيقى in this article and this one. This ban is based on the claim that the lyrics of such songs are inappropriate غير لائقة. However, these is a constant push back from these groups as they refuse ““be silenced“.

This phenomenon has attracted many journalists attention who wrote articles and produced documentaries أنتجوا وثائقيات about it.

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So, how does it sound? Let’s find outDown pointing backhand index


1- Frataka فرتكة

This is one of the very first and popular songs of this type. It was released in 2014 by a band in Alexandria, called Ed-dakhlaawiyyah الدخلاوية. The title ‘Fartaka’ means, according to this article, a state of excessive joy. The slang used in the lyrics is quite unique to a specific age group (young men). Although it can be a bit difficult to follow the lyrics, you can always enjoy music 😉

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2- Bint El-giraan بنت الجيران

The title of the song is: ‘The girl next door”. This song was specifically a hit around the beginning of the pandemic as it was released at the end of 2019. It is performed by Hasan Shakoush & Omar Kamaal (the latter is still one of the most popular singers of Mahraganaat). This song is lovely and not very fast-paced. It talks about a guy who is expressing his feelings towards the girl next door and describing her appearance. You can find the lyrics (with English translation) here.

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3- إنت قلبي You are my heart

The last example is a recent song by Omar Kamaland & Shaimaa El-maghrabi that was released at the end of 2021. You could see how popular these songs are by the number of views عدد المشاهدات!


Next week, we’ll be learning the lyrics of tis last song above 🙂


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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.