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Gelba unveils “Yellow” from Egyptian Roots documentary

Young producer, pianist and chaabi insider, Gelba, premieres “Yellow” a electro-pop and chaabi mix that encapsulates the artist’s background in the up-and-coming Egyptian electronic and rap scene. 

As part of a documentary series commissioned by COSMOS, Le Guess Who?’s official broadcasting station, we unveil an exclusive premiere from Gelba, a young producer from Ismailia, and his new track “Yellow”. A mix of electro-pop and mahraganat, the single comes as a package testament to the burgeoning creative scene across Egypt, freeing itself from the stifled woe and malaise of a generation post Arab Spring. A city in north-eastern Egypt, situated on the west bank of the Suez Canal, the documentary teaser shows a group of rowdy Egyptian youths lighting flares and celebrating the creative energy of Gelba’s live performance. 

Making music for the last 10 years, Gelba has yet to break into his own with only 2 tracks to his name so far, the 2020 “Coma” and the more recent “Halla bel 3wda” with Egyptian female rapper Dareen Salama. In the past Gelba has worked with artists singer-songwriter Hamza Namera, producing Egyptian rapper Mousv’s MAQSOUM album, or as a backup pianist for the dramatic and independent Hawas band shown in the opening of the documentary. During a anniversary performance, the lead singer of Hawas introduces Gelba by saying, “I don’t know if he plays chaabi, or electro, or r&b or what he is doing exactly, or disco, but he is very good at what he does,” before Gelba enters into a piano solo. However, in the rest of the documentary feature we quickly realize Gelba’s important role in the chaabi-trap music scene, producing, performing and betting on the next generation of rappers and artists who are banking on Egypt’s newest sound. Now, taking inspiration from this new scene, his family’s musical background and the ancient strings of simsimiyya music, Gelba has ventured onto his own artistic path. 

The documentary to be featured on COSMOS will be premiered on Sunday 20:00 – 21:00 at Pandora Foyer – TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht Netherlands brings together a whole slate of other young artists like Gelba who are pushing the country’s musical boundaries. As part of the annual Le Guess Who? Festival, which PAM will be in attendance, the festival is focusing on local scenes this from Kurdistan-Iraq, India, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Sudan, China and Palestine with 30-45 min audio-visual content to each Embassy to be premiered online. Egyptian Roots will be part of this selection which will unveil the early work of Gelba and other tastemakers around the world.