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Hamza Namira
Hamza Namira Concert.jpeg
Namira performing at a concert in 2010
Background information
Native name
حمزة نمرة
Birth name Hamza Namira
Born 15 November 1980 (1980-November-15) (age 40)
Abha, Saudi Arabia
Origin Egypt
Genres
  • Egyptian music
  • pop
  • Revolution music
Occupation(s)
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • Oud
Years active 1999–present
Labels
  • Awakening
  • Namira Productions

Hamza Namira (Arabic: حمزة نمرة ) is an Egyptian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released three albums from the production of Awakening Records: Dream With Me, Insan, Esmaani; and a couple of albums from Namira production, his own foundation: Hateer Min Tany and Mawlood Sanat 80. Besides singing, for which he is mostly known, he has also worked in musical composition and arrangement. Namira composed some of his own work, like the album heads Esmaani and Insan, along with some collaborations with other artists, like Maher Zain's song Ya Nabi Salam Alayka. He also contributed to arranging the cartoony remake Egyptian Jingle Bells (also known as Oh la la song), which was the first shaabi work in his repertoire, later followed by Esta3izo in his fourth studio album.

Namira's work is mostly marked by a recurring sociopolitical theme, diverting from love songs and focusing on topics of general humanist interest, like hope, alienation, generational change, and oppression. He's also interested in reviving cultural heritage. Having been dubbed "Voice of the Revolution", works of Hamza rose to prominence during the 25 January revolution, in which he personally participated, and were considered a symbolic figure thereof. Dari Ya Alby, from his third album, topped the SoundCloud chart for almost a month.

Career

Beginnings

Namira started to develop an interest in music when he was 17 years old, when he set about learning the guitar, keyboard, and ‘oud. He also vested interests in several musical styles: Middle Eastern, Egyptian traditional and folk music, light rock, jazz, and Latin music. From 1999 until 2004, Namira played in a band headed by the Alexandrian artist Nabil Bakly. Although a relatively unknown musician, Namira later said that Bakly was his main musical influence. He then went on to form his own group. Namira composed his first songs and managed to get a few like-minded friends together to establish the band "Nomaira". In the meantime, he studied commerce at the Alexandria University and graduated in 2003.

In light of Namira's debut album, which had a main fan base of college students, one commentator described him as the "new Sayed Darwish", a cover of whose song, Shedd El Hizam, was released in the album.

Breakthrough success

Namira's second album, Insan [Human] was released in July 2011. This coincided with the Arab spring, which he declared was a main factor in his popularity. According to him, he wants to express the real issues of his generation that mainstream works don't cover due to concerns of musical market needs and pressure from production companies.

When British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Egypt on 21 February 2011 (only ten days after President Hosni Mubarak left office), Namira was one of a select group of people invited to meet with him and to participate in a one-hour discussion about the future of Egypt.

Namira's fixation on sociopolitical issues continued along the timeline of the Egyptian part of the Arab Spring. In January 2014, he released a single, Wa Ollak Eh, in which he emphasized on rejecting violence, hatred, and the general polarized environment following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état and Rabia massacre.

Remix series

In 2016, Namira launched his own weekly TV series Remix (Arabic: ريمكس ) on the pan-Arab TV channel Al Araby. As of 24 December  2020 (2020 -12-24), 3 seasons of the show were released, with a total number of 34 episodes. Along the series, Namira blended different music genres with local lyrics, including flamenco, electro, celtic, and others. Arabic lyrics were adopted from the Maghreb, the levant, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, while non-Arab included Amazigh, Kurdish, and Armenian.

With a running time of around 20-30 minutes, each episode would examine the historical origin and evolution of a work of folklore or pop culture in an Arab region, or sometimes in even other neighboring regions, like Armenia and Kurdistan. In exploration of the musical piece, Namira would interview original artists (if still alive), their family members, local enthusiasts, or cultural officials. For example, he met with Hamdi Benani for an Algerian cover, and with the grandparent of Sayed Darwish for a remake of his Yā Wild ʿammy (Arabic: يا ولد عمي‎, lit.'O, cousin' ). At the end of each episode, Hamza would publicly perform a remix of the work, usually outside its place of origin or popularity. A number of songs were performed in London, which is both the headquarter of Al Araby and Hamza's place of residence. Works of Remix were mostly collaborative, featuring Lowkey, Babylone, Isam Bachiri, Hamid Al Shaeri, among others.

Discography

Albums

Studio albums

Year Title Label Track list
2008 Ehlam Maaya (Dream With Me) Awakening Records
  1. Morgiha – A Swing
  2. Ehlam Ma'aya – Dream With Me
  3. Konna Wehna Soghar – When We Were Young
  4. Fattah Shababeek 'Eeeneik – Spread out Your Eyes
  5. Shedd El Hizam – Tighten Up Your Belt
  6. Ya Tair – O' Bird
  7. Wana Fi Tareeqy – While On My Way
  8. Al Taghreeba – Alienation 1
  9. Ya Rabb – O' Lord
  10. Ehlam Ma'aya (Acoustic Version) – Dream With Me
2011 Insan (A Human) Awakening Records
  1. Insan – A Human
  2. El-Midan – The Square
  3. Hansa – I'll Forget
  4. Taghreeba II – Alienation 2
  5. Ya Muhawwin – O' Consoler
  6. Ewidooni – Promise Me
  7. Ibn El-Watan – Compatriot
  8. Balady Ya Balady – Homeland, O' Homeland
  9. Ya Hanah! – Lucky him!
  10. Doori – Roll on
  11. Haser Hesarak – Besiege Your Siege
  12. Ala Bab Allah – By Allah's Door
  13. Wushoosh – Faces
  14. Sout – A Voice
  15. Hila Hila Ya Matar – Come Down O' Rain!
  16. Esmy Masr – My Name's Egypt
2014 Esmaani (Listen Up) Awakening Records
  1. Esmaani – Listen Up!
  2. Sabah El-Kheer – Good Morning
  3. Ya Lala
  4. Ay Kalam – Empty Words
  5. Dalmet kda leeh – Why The Darkness?
  6. El-Atr – The Train
  7. Tesmahy- Would You?
  8. Ya Sidi – My Master
  9. La Tabki – Don't Cry
  10. Kolo Beya'addi – It All Pass
  11. Ya Mazloom – O' Oppressed One
  12. Ma3a EL-Salama – Farewell (Alienation 3)
2018 Hateer Min Tany (I'll Fly Again) Namira
  1. Dari Ya Alby – Dissemble, My Heart
  2. Sheekayyo
  3. Hateer Min Tany – I'll fly again
  4. Wala Sohba Ahla – Not a Better Company
  5. Bos Bos – Look, Look!
  6. Zahra
  7. El Wad El Abeet – The Naive Boy
  8. Dari Ya Alby (acoustic)
  9. Madadd – Help!
  10. Shuwayyet Habayeb – Some Dears
2020 Mawlood Sanat 80 (Born in the Year 80) Namira
  1. Mawlood Sanat 80 – Born in the Year 80
  2. El Waqaa El Akheera – The Last Fall
  3. Esta'eezo – Seek refuge
  4. El Saa'a 6 Sabahan – 6 in the Morning
  5. Faady Shuwayya – A Bit Idle
  6. Mesh Mohem – Doesn't Matter
  7. Yaaba – Buddy
  8. Ahkeelak Khofy – Tell You About My Fear
  9. Ma'lesh – Sorry
  10. El Essa W Elli Kaan – The Story and How it Went
  11. Ghenwa Leek Min Alby – A Song From The Heart To You
  12. Feeh Naas – There's People

Cover albums

Year Title Release Date Track English Translation Fused genre Original Work
2016 Remix, S01 15 April Inas Inas ft. Reminisce band (4:56) (Morocco, in Tamazigt) Tell him, Tell him Reggae Mohamed Rouicha (Amazighi folklore)
21 April Wa Sari Sara El Leil/Wein a Ramallah ft. Tarek an Nasser [ar] and Rum band (5:46/1:20) Oh the Night Went By/Ramallah is the Where Arabic pop Jordanian/Palestinian folklore/Salwa Al-Aas [ar]
28 April Ya Zareef Al Tool ft. 47Soul (5:05) O' Statuesque Shamstep Palestinian folklore (Dabke)
5 May Ya Oud Al Rouman ft. Baraka band (3:41) O' Trunk of Pomegranate African music Fata Najran [ar] (Saudi folklore)
12 May Ya Nes Jaratli Gharaeeb ft. Zap Tharwat [ar], Omar Sammur, Ben Eaton (5:51) (Tunisia) Wonders Befell Me, O' People! hip-hop music Hamdi Benani (Tunisian/Algerian Ma'luf)
19 May Mal Almagadir ft. Nour Project (4:29) (Egypt) What's With the Goings? smooth jazz Ahmed Munib [ar]; Katkot Elamir [arz] (Nubian folklore; Egyptian Shaabi)
26 May Manich Mena ft. AlQoura band (4:25) (Morocco/Algeria) I Don't Belong Here funk music Algerian/Moroccan foklore; Reggada
2 June Salma Ya Salama/Raggle Taggle Gypsy ft. Wraggle Taggle Band (4:23) (Egypt) Farewell O' Salama Irish music Sayed Darwish (Egyptian Zajal)
7 July Wain Ayamak Wain ft. Hamid Al Shaeri (2:44) Long Since Your Time electro music Hamid Al Shaeri (Libyan folklore)
14 July Ya Bahr El Toufan ft. Valkania (4:13) O' Floody Sea Balkan music Boudjemaâ El Ankis, Mohamed El Badji [ar; fr] (Algerian Chaabi)
21 July Jaljal Alayya Al Romman [ar] ft. Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey, Simon Hale (4:47) Pomegranate Enshadows Me Classical music Iraqi folklore
28 July Yawman Toatebna ft. Ramon Ruiz and Manuel de la Niña (4:05) (Egypt) We Once Gave Reproof Flamenco Port-Saidi folklore (Simsimiyya)
2018 Remix, S02 28 September Khlili ft. Génération Taragalte (3:45) (Morocco) My Beloved Tuareg music Lemchaheb [fr; ar] (Berber music)
5 October Yamma Mwel El Hawa ft. Frankly Jazz (3:04) (Jordan) What's with the Longing, Mother? Jazz music Palestinian folklore
12 October Dar Ya Dar ft. Eftekasat (4:17) (Lebanon) Home, Oh Home World fusion Wadih El Safi
26 October Siniya ft. Autostrad (3:23) (Jordan) Dining Table Alternative rock Nass El Ghiwane (Moroccan chaabi & folklore)
2 November Ya Tair Ya Tayer ft. Balkanatics (3:28) O' Soaring Bird Balkan music Ismail Khidr [ar]; Jamil AlAas [ar] (Jordanian folklore)
9 November Gmar El Ghorba ft. Artmasta (4:11) Moon of Alienation Reggaeton Walid Tounsi (Tunisian chaabi)
16 November Ayoub wu Na'saa ft. Aytac Dogan [tr] (4:56) Ayoub and Na'saa World music Khadra Mohamed Khidr [ar] (Egyptian folklore)
23 November Ya Yomma Fe Dag 'Aa Babna ft. Smith & Sons band (3:44) The Door's Knocking, Mother Bluegrass music Abu Arab [simple; ar] (Palestinian folklore)
30 November Tunisian Hadrah (Al Burdah) (3:34) The Mantle Sufi music Sufi Nasheed
7 December Ya Zare'e El Bazringosh ft. Declan Zapala (3:31) O' Cultivator of Bazringosh Classical music Iraqi folklore
14 December 'Aytat L'ammala ft. Habib Belk (3:35) The Prefectural Lament Gnawa music Moroccan Aita
21 December Nazani ft. Dante Ferrara (3:03) (Turkey) Graceful Classical music Նազանի by Sayat-Nova (Armenian folklore)
29 December Erdi 'Alina Ya Lmeema ft. 8-Ball band (3:43) Be Pleased With Us, Mother Indie rock Salah Farzit (Tunisian chaabi)

Extended Plays

Year Title Track list
2015 El Mesaharaty (Suhur waker)
  1. Zeina
  2. Zahma – Jam
  3. Ghorba – Alienation
  4. Kora – Football
  5. Helal – Crescent
  6. Manish Darwish – I'm no Dervish
  7. Wasfa – Recipe
  8. Iblees – Lucifer
  9. Nabina – Our Prophet
  10. Taraweeh – Tarawih
  11. El Omm – Mother
  12. Napoleon
  13. Khatma – A Complete Recitation
  14. Intizar – Waiting
  15. Istighfar
  16. Akher 10 Ayam – The Last 10 Days
  17. Daqqet Tabla – Beat of Drums
  18. Leilet AlQadr – Qadr Night
  19. Akher Leila – The Last Night

Singles

Year Release Date Title
2009 22 December Asforein – Two Birds
2011 21 October Lessa El'adl Gheyab – Justice Still Lacking (live)
2012 26 July Betheb Haga – You Love Something (Soundtrack of Sehr El Dunia [ar] by Mustafa Hosny [ar])
2012 1 August Kun 'Awna – Be of Help (Soundtrack of Khawatir [ar] by Ahmad Al Shugairi)
2013 14 June Soundtrack of Bekhtesar (In short) TV show by Moataz Abdelfatah [ar]
2014 21 January Wa Ollak Eh – What to Tell You
2019 8 February Hekayet Tefl – A kid's story
2020 15 October Ft. in Emlaq (Giant) with Hassan El Shafei

Videography

Year Title
2008
  • Dream with Me (Ehlam Ma'aya)
2009
  • Two Birds (Asforeen)
2010
  • O Israel (Ya Israeel)
  • I'm the Egyptian (Ana El-Masri)
2011
  • Human (Insan)
  • Hila Hila ya Matar (Come Down O' Rain)
  • Mawaweel
2013
  • The Square (El-Midan, in Arabic الميدان)
2014
  • What to Tell You (Wa Ollak Eih, in Arabic وقلّك إيه)
2018
  • Dary ya Alby
2019
  • Hekayet Tefl (meaning a kid's story, in Arabic حكاية طفل)
2020
  • Mawlood sanat 80 (in Arabic مولود سنة 80)
2020
  • Esta3izo (in Arabic استعيذوا)

Political views

Hamza has openly opposed the occupation of Palestine and the official position in Egypt towards the Arab–Israeli conflict. He was also a vocal proponent of the Arab spring, naming El Midan after Tahrir Square, due to its role in the Egyptian revolution, and dedicating his Hila Hila Ya Matar for the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. Namira also dedicated his Hekayet Tefl for the children of Syrian refugees.

In November 2014, Namira's songs were banned from Egyptian state radio for "criticising the authorities". In response to questions about the ban and his legal status in Egypt, Hamza declared that he only expresses his opinions as per rights included in the Egyptian constitution, and that he doesn't identify as an activist, nor a politician.

In an interview with youm7, Namira emphasized that he doesn't affiliate with the Muslim Brotherhood organization. He expressed his support for the Egyptian Military in the Sinai insurgency and expressed condolences for Ahmed Mansi, an Egyptian colonel killed during a terrorist attack.

Philanthropy

Namira joined a two-day UK tour organized by Human Appeal International to fundraise for medical equipment and provide training for more than 10,000 medical practitioners in Egypt. He performed in Vienna, Austria in October 2014 in an event organized by Humanic Relief.

In 2019, Namira released Hekayet Tefl in collaboration with United Muslim Relief as part of a fundraiser to support children of refugees of the Syrian Civil War in Jordan. The campaign raised around 90k Egyptian pounds.

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