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New Musicians' Union Leader in Egypt
July 29, 2011


Translated by Priscilla Adum


Background: Singer Iman El Bahr Darwish was voted in as the head of the Musician's Union in Egypt, in elections that took place in late July 2011. He is the grandson of legendary Egyptian composer/singer Sayed Darwish and is an excellent singer in his own right. Iman el Bahr Darwish had been semi-retired and away from the music scene for the past few years because he felt that the music industry had declined quite drastically, and he stated once that there were alot of singers with lousy voices who had become famous only because they had government or other connections. When he saw that the music industry had become more focused on money and on promoting poor singers out of greed rather than focused on true art, he preferred to step away. He also felt that the Mubarak regime played a big role in the decline of quality Egyptian arts. Now that Mubarak is gone, Iman El Bahr Darwish has come out of retirement and is ready to get back to work again. The following article talks about his plans for the Union and also talks a bit about what his thoughts are regarding the dancers and the clubs on Pyramid Street. The original Arabic version of the article from translated below can be found at



Iman El Bahr Darwish says: "I will not prevent the Awalem from Dancing in the Pyramid Street Nightclubs"*

*By "Awalem" he means dancers

Singer Iman El Bahr Darwish, the new leader of the Musician's Union, addressed the rumors that claimed he had intentions of closing down the clubs on Pyramids Street, or of banning el awalem (dancers) from dancing, or of banning women from singing. He said that these rumors were unfounded and they were absurd lies. In an interview with the program Life Today on Life Channel, Iman El Bahr Darwish said "Everything that has been said about my intentions to close down the Pyramid Street nightclubs has no basis in truth. I do not want to comment about that, especially since is is the job of the union leader to look out for the rights of musicians and not to sabotage their livelihood." He added, "I have not said I will prevent el awalem from dancing and I don't know where these words came from. Also, the repeated rumors that I will ban women from singing are nonsense. They are ridiculous lies."

The new leader of the Egyptian Musician's Union said he is happy with his new position and he wished to serve his fellow musicians. He said that he will do everything he can to help solve the problems of the Union and the musicians, to the best of his ability. Darwish explained that he would first try to find out about the financial situation of the union, what their sources of income are, and what their current status is. Then he would work quickly to provide for the needs of the union members in every area, both in terms of health care and in terms of financial support for those who are unable. [Meaning those who are out of work or who are unable to work.]




About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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