This interview with Ramy Essam was recorded by Freemuse Web Editor Mik Aidt in Stockholm, Sweden, on 22 November 2011.
18 days at the Tahrir Square in February 2011 catapulted singer and guitarist Ramy Essam to fame. All of a sudden, he was on CCN, BBC, in ’60 minutes’, and many many other broadcasters and newspapers around the world.
“Ramy Essam played an important role during the Egyptian revolution and suffered severe beatings and torture as a consequence. He personifies the powerful role that music played in the Arab Spring,” stated Freemuse’s Award Committee, and in conjunction with the conference ‘Right! Freedom of Music & Speech’, Ramy Essam was invited to Stockholm to receive the 2011 Freemuse Award on 21 November 2011.
About Ramy Essam Born in 1987 in Al-Mansoura, one of Egypt’s smaller cities, where he went to school and studied engineering, Ramy Essam self-learned playing the guitar and started to write songs at the age of 17, inspired by young poets like Amgad Qahwagi and Mohamed Bahgat, as well as the poet Ahmed Fouad Negm who spoke up against Mubarak’s regime.
In 2009, Ramy Essam established the folk band Mashakel (‘Problems’), and started to advocate for a life in freedom by illustrating in his songs the simple dailyday problems he was confronted with, along with all Egyptians, under Mubarak’s regime.
Ramy Essam is currently working on producing an album of songs from Tahrir Square, which he had entitled ‘Al Midan’. The album is scheduled for release in November 2011.
Photo: Issra Wasfy
Ramy Essam tells about his experiences at the Tahrir Square in Cairo in February 2011 – the 18 days that created a political revolution in Egypt, and changed Ramy’s life.