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THE COPTS MUST CREATE THEIR OWN MUSIC AND DO AWAY WITH ARAB MUSIC

August 7, 2016

Dancing girl

 A Coptic musician from a fabric from the 6th century

Literature and music are essential requirements for any living society – man does not only live by bread but by literature and music too. That is why all nations have been very keen about promoting and protecting their own literature and music, for these two express the soul of a nation as much as they make it up.

And as in literature, so in music – no one can live in a vacuum of literature or music. A nation that neglects or abandons its literature and music will risk the literature and music of others to encroach on its cultural space and occupy it. The invading literature and music are often those of the nation’s enemy that manages to control its political and cultural life. It was, therefore, extremely credulous and silly of our forefathers of the seventh century who witnessed the Arab invasion of Egypt and stayed passive to think that giving up their political sovereignty will not be followed by surrendering their culture, with its language, literature, music, customs, laws, and even religion.

But what was lost is not lost forever – the flame of cultural resistance which our ancestors had hoped to ward off Arab and Islamic culture still lives. The Copts, resisted politically at certain points of their history, such as during the Bashmurite uprisings in the 8th and 9th centuries, but they constantly and continuous resisted culturally. We lost our language, literature and music but not completely. We can resurrect all these. What are needed are the will and the desire to continue the resistance against Islamic and Arab culture.

We in Coptic Nationalism call upon the Copts not only to revive our language and create new Coptic culture, but to detach themselves from Arabic music and create their own – a music that reflects the Coptic soul and nourishes it; a music in Coptic, for the Copts and by the Copts. And with music, folklore dance always comes: we must develop our own dancing, and our own national dress. It is appalling to see our youth dancing Arab dances, such as belly dancing, on the tunes of a ‘Adawiyya or a Saad al-Sagheer or a Amr Diab.

To those who say, Halim or Kalthoum are universal musical figures and they appeal to all, we say listen to them, as you listen to Sinatra or King, and enjoy them if you will, but that does not negate the fact that their music is not yours – create your own, and help to enrich the world with your own creation.

A last caution: when we talk about Coptic music we don’t mean only religious music, such as the hymns, but all noble music that expresses the religious and the temporal: we must develop our love songs, songs celebrating courage, motherhood, friendship, beauty of nature, mood, and freedom. And we must do that in Coptic.

Copts at home, in happiness or sadness, or when they gather to celebrate, such as in their weddings and parties, should sing in Coptic out of the creation of their own souls – songs of life and hope.

Those who don’t want Copts to sing or dance from a religious point of view, however the song is noble and the dancing decent, ought not to take an opposing stance, for they cannot stop a people from either singing or dancing – and as no nation lives in a musical vacuum, if you don’t develop your own music, upon which you have control, other peoples’ music will creep into your space and force you to sing their songs and dance to their tunes.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Diapason permalink
    August 7, 2016 9:39 pm

    Excellent ideas. Hope something starts but do try to keep it within the traditions of the country and society rather than import pop, rock, rap, reggae and other inferior musics.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      August 7, 2016 9:43 pm

      The Copts must develop their own music that reflects their soul, and not the soul of anyone else whether inside or outside Egypt.

  2. August 15, 2016 2:37 am

    Civilization has been defined by cultural exchange. Belly dancing developed in Egypt. It’s an Egyptian dance for *all* Egyptians, regardless of religion or cultural background.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      August 22, 2016 7:09 am

      No, belly dancing is not a dance for the Copts – it was not developed by them and does not fit well with their culture. We reject all forms of Arabisation and Islamisation. You can enjoy belly dancing, Tom, but you cannot tell us what to accept as part of our culture.

  3. Emad permalink
    September 6, 2016 3:35 am

    it is too hard even if you created it from scratch and this is a way difficult there is another difficulty to keep that identity in presence of a thief that steals the identity arabic music is stolen from all over the world and in behalf of that stood a lot of money and even a tv channels that promote stealing ideas and thoughts to say and talk about that in arabic music is the myth and that what is the real vacuum and do what we can To expose that vacuum

  4. just passing through permalink
    November 13, 2016 4:25 am

    Please explain to me what is inferior music? there is no such thing. Rap and reggae is form of cultural expression that some populations fought to have in countries that discriminated against them. The above comment reeks of ignorance.
    Also Modern Egyptian music has some indigenous elements it is not all from the middle east. If you listen to Egyptian Arabic music compared to that from the gulf, the difference is striking. Thats mainly because of the indigenous influences. I think your are so bias to Arabic that you dont even care to research this. Just because Arabic is in the music doesn’t mean that their is nothing Egyptian about it.
    Also you know if the Nubians have preserved ancient Egyptian music more so than any other population in Egypt? As a matter of fact if you want to know what ancient Egyptian music sounded like you must look at the surrounding populations that was influence by them. Listen to Nubian, Berber and Ethiopian music. So if the Copts were to make “traditional” Egyptian music it may sound closer to that “inferior” reggae you despise so much. You just cant make up a culture because you wish to be against Arabs. It wont work. Copts for the most part have no link to their ancient culture and from the looks of it dont want to learn about it from those who preserved it better than they have. Culture is not something you can pull out of your backside…sorry to be crude but that is the truth. The culture Copts have now is what they are now, you just have to accept that. Beside Christians have more to worry than just Arab music blasting from their radios.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      November 13, 2016 11:56 am

      Again, blah, blah, blah, as in your previous reply to the Coptic genome articles. And I warn you, if you carry on using such rude words, you will be banned from writing here.

      It is not up to you or to anyone to tell us what culture is for us or what culture we should want or reject. You must understand that. Ok?

      • just passing through permalink
        November 13, 2016 4:36 pm

        LOL “blah blah blah” what an intelligent reply. Please tell me what is so rude about my words. Not once did I curse or insult anyone. if anything calling other people’s music inferior is far more insulting than anything I have said(but you are silent on that). I stated things that were true and it rubbed you the wrong way because it goes against your world view.. That not rudeness and if you think that as rude then you have some serious insecurities. As a matter of fact you threatening to ban me because I wouldn’t agree with you is no different than some Muslims having a hissy fit because people dont believe what they believe.You are acting like the very thing you hate. If you dont want hear different opinions or have an intelligent discussion, then maybe you should do what extremist do and just disable the comments. After all you seem just as close minded. Sorry to break it to you but everyone is not going to agree with you. Especially if your post are not based on FACTS. Acting all childish because your opinions are being challenged shows that you are not searching for truth but rather just want to hear yourself talk. If you are not looking for truth then whats the point of this blog? Isn’t it every Christian’s duty to search for truth even if they dont like it.

        BTW what is this obsession about a culture that you have no idea about. you keep on saying that no one should tell you what culture copts should have or reject. But yet you know nothing about the Coptic cultural past. However you want to tell Copts what their culture should be like. Its like the blind leading the blind. Your post makes no sense.The least you can do is research this topic before you ranted about it. It didn’t take me long to find out that modern Egyptian music has indigenous elements . If anything Copts are already practicing their culture with just some Arab influences.

      • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
        November 13, 2016 5:45 pm

        Ok, if you say so.

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