Mohamed Sa'ad's fourth SHA'ABI film sees him as 'Booha' in 2005. Booha, a butcher, migrating from the countryside to Cairo to find a man who has his inheritance money. He meets and falls in love with Kouta [Mai Ezzidine] but then is exploited in the big city by Farag [vetran comedy actor Hassan Hosny]...
Sa'ad's films pave an interesting set of Sign Posts through the last years of the ruling regime. The 2000s were characterised in Egypt by political, social and financial frustration. It seemed the greater the population's angst, the increasingly strident and manic the comedy of Mohammed Sa'ad's films became year on year.
The films were a kind of SHA'ABI film. SHA'ABI [a variety of spellings in Roman Script exist] is actually the genre of a kind of music with similarities and motivations to Rap Music. It is protest music and it is SATIRE [criticising society through comedy] but in Egypt SHA'ABI extends its influence into cinema - The brutal SATIRE wrapped in maniac comedy is a way of bringing issues in Arab Society into focus indirectly but succinctly! People and wrong-doings from every walk of Egyptian life are shown in SHA'ABI Cinema making for hilarious enjoyment and bringing breakdown of society into question.
Mohammed Sa'ad's films are a kind of SHA'ABI and in some ways they are a unique entity of SOCIAL SATIRE. He is a unique force in Egyptian media which is exported to Arabic speaking countries. Some say that Sa'ad and SHA'ABI Cinema and Music have moved the people for a decade to 'The Arab Spring'...Who knows?
The critics and locals who see themselves as 'City Folk' tend to strongly dislike SHA'AB due to its links to migrant workers from the countryside. Similarly, Sa'ad's films pose embarrassing questions like, "Where do this small number of rich get their money from?". However, Mohammed Sa'ad's films do well in the cinemas each summer and as mentioned before, could have assisted in some small way to motivating and shaping revolution in the region?
The 'Booha' Song actually is more of a 'musical interlude' to break up the dialogue and comedy rather than a full-scale song. The premise of the song is silliness and a celebration of low-class bad manners!
The FORM [sections over time ] is Western Pop Song: Intro [drums + electronic BRASS] + Chorus(I)*[backing singers] + Verse(V)**[Sa'ad] + Bridge [drums + flutes] + Verse(V)**[x2] + Chorus(I)* [shortened][Sa'ad shouts last note to signal the end CADENCE(musical full stop)].
* TONIC (I) 'home' note 'doh' melody area
** DOMINANT (V) fifth note 'soh' melody area
The ENSEMBLE is typical for SHA'ABI MUSIC: Electronic Keyboard driving the track and supplying a BRASS sample sound. BRASS began to be used in ACCOUSTIC [live] SHA'ABI with Ahmed Adeweyah in the 1970s. BRASS and Electronic BRASS has replaced VIOLINS. This may be to do with removing OTTOMAN [Turkish] MUSIC from Egypt? The strings were part of the previous more Turkic sound. Similarly, in Turkey a DE-ARABICISING process happened in both the language and more recently, music - Both cultures freeing themselves from the earlier era. In addition, a string section is expensive to hire, whereas a couple of BRASS instruments is cheaper.
The PERCUSSION [instruments you hit] is DARBOUKA [vase drum] and ZILLS [small finger metal discs giving high pitches to the song]. Electronic PERCUSSION drive the song forward.
The backing choir is typical in Arabic Music. They are often used in ANTIPHONY [question and answer] or IMITATION [repeating the same melody in a different instrument for variety]. Here, for variety, the choir sings the chorus and Sa'ad solos the verse. It works well for both comedy and keeping the audience interested.
The flutes play VARIATIONS [same tune with changed rhythm or note values] of the chorus in the bridges. The TIMBRE [tone colour which identifies a particular instrument] is fresh and adds a 'rural' traditional sound to the electronics.
Sa'ad's voice is a dreadful parody of SHA'ABI singing but is really funny and memorable!
Sa'ad's characters always dance and sing, Booha is no exception! The video is quite extraordinary in context of everyday Cairo where religion and Americana heavily influence daily life. The idea of Egyptian dance, of an unmarried man and woman singing and wiggling together is really outrageous but that is why it is funny. The Belly Dance is much more part of Egypt's Turkish History. Oriental Dance is out of fashion in Egypt so nice to see.