Ramy Essam performs in “Tahrir and Beyond,” featuring special guests Ganzeer and The Lazour Brothers, writers of “We Live in Cairo.” This performance is co-presented by National Sawdust, Artistic Freedom Initiative, and the #WeAre Foundation.
Featured in Rolling Stone, the New York Times, NPR, and in the documentary film The Square, Egypt’s Ramy Essam exploded into international fame as one of the leading voices of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, when his songs spread like wildfire among the demonstrators. During the height of the uprising, his music became the soundtrack of a whole generation struggling for a better life and a more just society. Amidst efforts to silence his voice, Ramy was detained and brutally tortured. His songs were banned and he was forbidden to perform publicly. He resolved to, and has, come out even stronger against oppression.
It was in that same revolution that Ganzeer began to gain international acclaim as the “Banksy of Egypt.” Ganzeer was one of many artists who filled the streets with murals and graffiti that spoke to the revolutionary spirit of the movement and helped to push it forward. After rising to prominence as an artist in the anarchic movement, public demands were made for the government to take action against him, placing him at risk of arrest and imprisonment. Soon after, Ganzeer left Egypt for the United States.
In this commemoration of the 2011 revolution that launched them into international fame, Ramy Essam and Ganzeer are joined by The Lazour Brothers, winners of the 2016 Richard Rodgers Award for their musical, “We Live in Cairo.” Inspired by young activists who led the charge at Tahrir Square, the musical follows six students coming of age amidst the uprising.
Ramy Essam, Ganzeer and The Lazour Brothers join their diverse talents to bring you “Tahrir and Beyond,” a multimedia celebration of the art that inspired a revolution, and the legacy it left behind.
Photography by Jonathan McPhail Photography