The controversial street music that won’t be silenced



El Tarzi argues that the mainstream market has exploited Mahraganat as a source of profit while curbing its performers creativity. “The market embodied by the syndicate will not allow these singers to achieve. Hence it started to look down on them and force them to have permits,” she says. However, she asserts that Mahraganat singers should be dealt with like any other performers. “We should not approach them in a romanticised classist manner which sees them as slums residents or simple thriving artists.” 

In its attacks on the genre, the syndicate has stated it is considering asking YouTube and Soundcloud administration not to publish any songs without permissions. El Tarzi says that not having control over performers’ use of these platforms is a headache for the syndicate. “They have the right to grow, be more financially [successful]. They are artists like any other artists. They can also practice self-censorship or self-preservation in order to be approved and to be able to enter the market,” says El Tarzi.

Back to Saied and Mohamed, who are still to release their debut song. The duo thinks of success stories of Mahraganat singers like Dokdok and Shakhoush as an inspiration. “They started from nothing working as vendors or freelance musicians and now millions of people in Egypt and abroad listen to their work.” Like Dokdok, they are waiting for the moment to take the stage and sing their songs. Recently, they participated in producing a campaign song for a parliamentary candidate who eventually lost.

“He lost but the song is still catchy and can be heard in several tuk tuks in Mataryea [their district],” Mohamed says. “Banning [Mahraganat] will make it more popular and will make people listen to it more and more.” As Dokdok awaits his syndicate papers to be issued, he hopes that the authorities take them seriously. “They are in power and they can ban us. However, they can ban concerts and shows, but they cannot ban the music or singing.”

*Some names have been altered

Additional reporting by Omnia Farrag

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Live music at Beleura House & Garden



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Australian Music Vault


The Australian Music Vault is a free exhibition showcasing the Australian music story, interactive and digital experiences, and iconic objects from the Australian Performing Arts Collection.

Explore the musical influences on the Australian ‘sound’, see costumes worn by international stars and unlock the stories of hip hop in Australia.

The exhibition includes a highly interactive digital experience allowing visitors to listen to interviews with musicians, promoters and people behind-the-scenes sharing their stories within the engagement zones.

To make sure that you have an enjoyable and safe experience, there have been some adjustments including QR code contact tracing on entry. No bookings are required.

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iHeartRadio Music Awards 2021 Winners: The Complete List


Usher hosts tonight’s 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards, featuring appearances from Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Demi Lovato and more. Read on to find out who was crowned a winner!

Song of the Year
“Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
“Circles” – Post Malone
“Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
“ROCKSTAR” – DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch
“Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles

Female Artist of the Year
Ariana Grande
Billie Eilish
Dua Lipa
Megan Thee Stallion
Taylor Swift

Male Artist of the Year
Harry Styles
Justin Bieber
Post Malone
Roddy Ricch
The Weeknd 

Watch: Doja Cat Talks Collab With “Talented” Women SZA, Ariana & Saweetie

Alternative Rock Song of the Year
“Bang!” – AJR
“Bloody Valentine” – Machine Gun Kelly
“everything i wanted” – Billie Eilish
“Level Of Concern” – twenty one pilots
“Monsters” – All Time Low featuring blackbear

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year
AJR
All Time Low
Billie Eilish
Cage the Elephant
twenty one pilots

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist
Ashe
Dayglow
Powfu
Royal & The Serpent
Wallows

Rock Song of the Year
“Death By Rock And Roll” – The Pretty Reckless
“Patience” – Chris Cornell
WINNER: “Shame Shame” – Foo Fighters
“Shot In The Dark” – AC/DC
“Under The Graveyard” – Ozzy Osbourne

Rock Artist of the Year
AC/DC
Five Finger Death Punch
Ozzy Osbourne
Shinedown
WINNER: The Pretty Reckless

Watch: Doja Cat Talks Collab With “Talented” Women SZA, Ariana & Saweetie

Alternative Rock Song of the Year
“Bang!” – AJR
“Bloody Valentine” – Machine Gun Kelly
“everything i wanted” – Billie Eilish
“Level Of Concern” – twenty one pilots
“Monsters” – All Time Low featuring blackbear

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year
AJR
All Time Low
Billie Eilish
Cage the Elephant
twenty one pilots

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist
Ashe
Dayglow
Powfu
Royal & The Serpent
Wallows

Rock Song of the Year
“Death By Rock And Roll” – The Pretty Reckless
“Patience” – Chris Cornell
WINNER: “Shame Shame” – Foo Fighters
“Shot In The Dark” – AC/DC
“Under The Graveyard” – Ozzy Osbourne

Rock Artist of the Year
AC/DC
Five Finger Death Punch
Ozzy Osbourne
Shinedown
WINNER: The Pretty Reckless

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Pink to Receive Icon Award at 2021 Billboard Music Awards


On May 23, Pink is set to be honored with the Icon Award at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards. Scroll on for her reaction to the news.

One word: Legendary!

The 2021 Billboard Music Awards is shaping up to be an exciting event with each and every announcement. Case in point? Pink is receiving the prestigious Icon Award come Sunday, May 23. Jon Bon Jovi is presenting her with the honor, organizers added on Saturday, May 22, a day before the big show.

“As a little girl, I always dreamed about being a singer and sharing my love of music with the world,” Pink said in a statement. “Years later, to receive the Billboard Music Awards Icon Award is hard to fathom! I feel so honored to join the ranks of music idols like Cher, Garth Brooks, Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder. It’s a true ‘pinch me’ moment and I feel humbled and blessed.”

In addition to receiving the honor, Pink, who is a three-time BBMA winner, is also set to perform an 8.5-minute set at the ceremony. This will be the singer’s first return to the BBMA stage since her last performance in 2016. Photos of the star rehearsing were released ahead of the big show.

The star’s award isn’t the only thing worth noting.

Last week, Nick Jonas shared that he was taking center stage to host the star-studded show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. He even posted a video of himself accepting the “preemptive ‘Best Host Ever’ award.”

“Truly an honor to have already received the first preemptive 2021#BBMAs award. Best host ever?! Wow,” he quipped on Instagram.

The star’s award isn’t the only thing worth noting.

Last week, Nick Jonas shared that he was taking center stage to host the star-studded show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. He even posted a video of himself accepting the “preemptive ‘Best Host Ever’ award.”

“Truly an honor to have already received the first preemptive 2021#BBMAs award. Best host ever?! Wow,” he quipped on Instagram.



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Make Tracks To Byron Bay For This Epic Music Festival Held In A Brewery


Amazing news: Festival Of The Stone is back for 2021 and heads up, tickets will sell out real quick.

For those who aren’t familiar, this epic festival comes to us from beer legends Stone & Wood—that’s right, music and beer had a lovechild and so Festival Of The Stone was born.

Kicking off at 5pm, Saturday 5 June, and lasting into the wee hours, you’ll rock out to epic live music with a cold bevvy in hand at the brewery’s 1160-square-metre Byron Bay digs. 

Headlining Byron’s biggest neighbourhood block party is Bundjalung indigenous, hip-hop MC, JK-47. Hailing from the Northern Rivers, JK-47 first came to the nation’s attention in 2020 when material from his debut album, Made For This, saw him named as one of triple j Unearthed’s best new artists. Recently, his Like A Version cover of 2Pac’s Changes lit up triple j’s switchboard and cemented his place as one of the country’s most exciting new hip hop talents. So yeah, you’re going to want to see him blow up that stage live. 

Joining JK-47 on the festival line-up is indie-pop crew Seaside; Byron underground DJ Dan Musgrave aka Casimir; The Hombres, a mix of well-matched musos with members moonlighting from other bands such as Flight Facilities and Grinspoon; streetfunk, disco and electro boogie house, The Booty Affair; as well as Club Raiders DJs, DJ Cashew and Richie Carter.

As well all of your Stone & Wood favourites, there will also be Sunly Seltzers and new kid on the block, Little Dragon ginger beer to keep you hydrated throughout the night. But make sure you save room for the king of all beers, Stone & Wood’s seasonal, limited release Stone Beer. Brewed with hot stones from a woodfire, Stone Beer pays homage to brewing ancestors across Europe, who stone-brewed their beer from as early as the 7th century. Perfect for a winter’s night, the hot stones lend a rich caramel flavour to the beer, complementing the hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

And don’t worry, there’s also a slew of tasty food trucks rolling up to keep you fed throughout your dance marathon. You can smash drool-worthy eats from the likes of Gunter’s Flammkuchen, JR’s Smokehouse BBQ and 100 Mile Table’s, The Canteen.  

And one of our favourite parts about the whole festival? A portion of your ticket price will go towards Stone & Wood’s national not-for-profit inGrained Foundation which supports grassroots environmental and social charities in the the Byron Bay area. 

General tickets are now on sale and will set you back just $36 (plus booking fee and includes a tasting of Stone & Wood’s seasonal limited Stone Beer. This baby sells out every year so fire up the group chat and get that Byron vacay in the works.

THE DETAILS

What: Festival Of Stone
Where: Stone & Wood Brewery, 100 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay

When: Saturday 5 June, 5pm til late
Cost: $36 plus booking fee
To book,
head here

While you’re in Byron, be sure to check out these awesome restaurants. 

Image Credit: Supplied 



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Live music COVID restrictions causing confusion


Queenslanders are asking why they can go to the football to watch their favourite team, but can’t go to the pub to see their favourite band.

Venue operators claim the state government’s COVID-19 restrictions on pubs and clubs are causing confusion among customers and hurting businesses.

The operators say the confusion stems from why pubs are still operating under the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule but football stadiums are not.

Mick Hasler, operations manager for Sun Tourism, which owns and operates several pubs and venues in the state’s far north, said the restrictions did not make sense and were confusing for customers and business owners.

“Our business is down about 60 per cent because we are still operating under the one person per two square metre rule,” he said.

Mr Hasler said the restrictions did not just hurt his business, but had a knock-on effect. 

“If we can’t operate at 100 per cent, then we have to cut back on other expenses like staff, live music, and security,” he said.

“We have to budget differently; we can now only pay bands half their price because they can only play to half the people.

Roz Pappalardo, acting branch manager for cultural services at the Cairns Regional Council, said the restrictions meant that the Tanks Art Centre was also operating at a reduced capacity.

“The tanks can hold 650 people standing, but at the moment we are only allowed 300 people standing,” she said.

Ms Pappalardo said the idea that venues were operating at 100 per cent capacity while seated was slightly misleading.

“We can only fit 450 fully [with] people seated, as we need to allow for walkways and access to bars and the exits, so that’s only about 70 per cent capacity,” she said.

“Music venues are not built to be seated, just through the process of bringing in chairs brings down the capacity, so you’re not operating at your pre-COVID 100 per cent.

John Collins spent nearly 20 years playing bass in iconic Australian band Powderfinger.

Since hanging up his guitar he has bought two music venues in Brisbane and recently he started Playfair, a lobby group and online petition aimed at easing restrictions at live music venues across the state.

“People can’t believe that we only have 50 per cent capacity at live music venues but 100 per cent capacity at Suncorp stadium,” he said.

“Playfair is about recognising that we are still not back to capacity.

“Music venues don’t have seats. When we put seats in we are only at about 30 per cent of our original capacity.”

Mr Collins said he was not advocating for full capacity, just a larger capacity that was workable.

“I met with the Premier’s office before we launched the campaign, but since then we have not had any further conversations with the state government,” he said. 

“It’s been a bit disappointing.

“The government has consistently said the reason why football grounds are at full capacity and the bands are not, is because the sport grounds are outdoors.

“You don’t get dropped into your seat via a helicopter [at games], then we [at sport grounds] pack around bars, the entry and the toilets, that’s where the inconsistency lies with me.

“You have 10,000 people walking through one gate and I’m only asking for 2,000.”

An anomaly within the state government’s restrictions is that all seated sporting venues and theatres are operating at 100 per cent capacity, whereas restaurants, where patrons are seated, are still operating under the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.

Mr Collins said it was adding to the confusion.

“The rules don’t make sense; it all seems a bit ridiculous,” he said.

“Even though we have tickets and we know where everybody is seated, we still need to do QR codes.”

Mr Collins said that the restrictions were not just hurting musicians but also truck drivers, merchandisers, bar staff and sound and lighting companies.

“It doesn’t seem fair, if there was a COVID case at Suncorp stadium, it would shut Brisbane down but they are willing to take that risk, while at the same time they are allowing venues to suffer,” he said.

Queensland Health issued the ABC with a statement about the current venue restrictions:

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Celebrate local music at Bungendore this Saturday




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Opera Queensland’s regional country music tour kicks off at Beef 2021


Fans of Slim Dusty, Dolly Parton, and centuries-old composers Puccini and Verdi unite as Opera Queensland’s latest show premiers, combining the unlikely duo of opera and country music.

The cabaret-style show Are You Lonesome Tonight marks Opera Queensland’s 40th birthday.

To celebrate, the company is travelling across Queensland in what will be its most extensive regional tour.

Opera Queensland’s director of learning, regional and community Mark Taylor said the public might think the genres are “polar opposites”, but both country music and opera focus on telling narratives through song.

“Good music is just good music. It transcends age and genre.”

Mr Taylor said while the tour premieres at Beef Australia in Rockhampton, Opera Queensland will visit 32 locations in Queensland including Cairns, Mount Isa, Winton, and Stanthorpe.

He said even a town as tiny as Windorah with a population of less than 100 will be visited.

It is also Opera Queensland’s first regional tour since COVID began.

Aboriginal and South Sea Islander artist Marcus Corowa is one of the three main performers in the show alongside other young Australian artists Irena Lysiuk and Jonathan Hickey.

While Mr Corowa lives in Sydney, he said it was a dream of his to bring the show to his hometown Bowen where his family will watch him perform.

Country music star and 21-times Golden Guitar winner Sara Storer cameos in the performance.

“Seeing it for the first time after all these months of rehearsals … [there’s] a lot of nerves but a lot of excitement,” Ms Storer said.

“After I’ve done my bit, I’m going to sit back and be lost in the music and watch how clever they are in putting two genres together.”

Yeppoon woman Kelly McCosker said it was exciting to participate as one of the 70 community choir members in Rockhampton.

Opera Queensland describes the event as diverse and accessible.

Guests are encouraged to attend in jeans, tuxedos, or ball gowns.

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What COVID has taught us about making live music accessible to everyone


For fans and artists alike, live gigs are a fundamental part of the experience of music.

Before sound was ever committed to tape or compressed into a computer file, it was enjoyed in real-time.

But as the COVID lockdowns put a stop to live music, they prompted a conversation about who gets locked out of live music in normal times — not just during a pandemic — and how to address that inequity.

As live music returns in much of the country, advocates and artists with disability say the industry should learn some lessons from the pandemic and build back up in a more inclusive way.

Eliza Hull, who lives in Castlemaine in Victoria, released her first album independently in 2012 and has since played widely with acts like SAFIA and Katie Noonan, as well as contributing music to TV series in Australia and overseas.

“Live music has been something that I’ve obviously wanted to be part of because it brings purpose to my life and I love sharing my music on stage and getting that audience reaction,” said Hull, who also works part-time at the ABC.

Hull lives with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic condition that affects her balance and makes it difficult to walk. Until recently, she believed her condition made her less worthy as a performer, largely because she never saw people like her playing music.

“I would hide it and make sure that the [stage] curtain was pulled and nobody would see how I had to pull myself up onto the stage,” she said.

“It was a very isolating experience, because sometimes there’d be four flights of steps to get up to the backstage area to have a drink with your bandmates, and I couldn’t even get up there.

“If I was meeting a record label or prospective manager, I would make sure that I was sitting down at a cafe, and that they had to walk to me, so that they wouldn’t see the way that I walk.

“That comes from an internal belief that you’re not worthy as a disabled person because of lack of representation.”

Hull no longer hides the affects of her condition — partly because she wants to be her authentic self for her young daughter — but she knows there is still “a really long way to go” in the music industry.

She no longer wants to play venues that are not accessible.

“And not only are they not able to get through the door, but there [are] so many barriers, once they’re in the door, to be able to experience incredible live music that we all deserve.”

A music fan with varied taste who lives in Sydney, Lachlan Billing has difficulty with balance due to an undiagnosed condition, and uses a walker for support.

“If [the venue] had a lift I was OK,” Billing, 34, said of his experiences getting out to see music.

“But if it was a flight of stairs and it didn’t have a handrail, I couldn’t make it up at all.”

For Jack McCutcheon, 23, who has mild cerebral palsy that affects his ability to walk, his experience has been relatively good.

At the venues he has visited recently, there were handrails, and he was able to find information about access on the venue’s website before the show.

Morwenna Collett, who works as a consultant on access and inclusion and is the interim CEO of Accessible Arts, said there was no hard data on how well Australian venues stacked up in terms of accessibility, but problems were common.

“We tend to use the heritage building excuse a bit too often here in Australia, particularly in Sydney,” said Collett, a former classical musician who was diagnosed with MS during university.

“But obviously, access is about so much more than that. Only 4 per cent of people with disability are wheelchair users.”

More than 4 million Australians live with disability, so the spectrum of reasons music fans might be locked out of live gigs is wide.

Members of the deaf community or people with hearing difficulties still enjoy music, particularly in a live setting, but it is rare to see an Auslan interpreter on stage.

Lighting can be a problem for people with sensory sensitivities and generally, outside of the largest venues, there are no spaces for people with autism who might require periodic breaks from loud noise or crowded rooms.

A friend told Stavros Nanos, 40, a regular gig-goer and metal fan who lives in Sydney, about a bouncer denying access to a patron with difficulty walking because they thought the person was drunk.

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