From Abdel Halim Hafez to Wegz: the Egyptian musicians featured in Marvel's 'Moon Knight'

The six-episode mini-series began showing on Disney+ streaming platform on March 30

Oscar Isaac stars in the Disney+ show 'Moon Knight'. Disney+ via AP
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Three episodes in and the Egyptian musical presence on Moon Knight only seems to be waxing.

The mini-series, which has six episodes, began on the Disney+ streaming platform on March 30, and is arguably Marvel’s most uncanny release yet, albeit also one of its slower burners.

Based on the Marvel Comics title featuring the eponymous character, Moon Knight tells the story of a mercenary with a dissociative identity disorder who, along with his alternate personalities, becomes embroiled in a deadly mystery involving ancient Egyptian gods.

The series stars Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, Karim El Hakim, Khalid Abdalla, F Murray Abraham and Ethan Hawke. The directorial team is led by Clash filmmaker Mohamed Diab.

Moon Knight has been praised by critics, who have called it “seductively dark” and deft in the way the psychological thriller balances its dry humour. Some have been critical of the show’s pacing and haphazard CGI, but for the most part, reviews have been positive, with many commending the show’s tone, cast and mind-warping plot. The weekly episode release, as opposed to Netflix’s wholesale approach, has also given fans the chance to savour the show.

The music of Moon Knight has also been making waves, particularly its Egyptian features. While the soundtrack includes tracks by Bob Dylan, Bauhaus and even Wham!, songs by Egyptian musicians take a lion’s share of the docket.

Among these is Dubai’s DJ Kaboo. The Egyptian-born producer, who also goes by the name Arab Trap Boss, has a number of his tracks featured on the show including Arab Trap: Made In Egypt — which contains a sample of Khosara, the crooning classic by Abdel Halim Hafez in the first episode, and Enta, which samples and precedes Warda’s Batwanes Beek, in the third.

The pilot episode also includes Najat Al Saghira’s Bahlam Maak, which is heard during a scene in which Steven (Isaac) is waiting for his date at the restaurant.

The second episode also has an Egyptian song — El Melouk by Ahmed Saad featuring 3enba and Double Zuksh — heard during the end credits.

According to the Egypt Independent, the song “ranked 15th in the world’s top song sales” after being heard on the show. Its official music video currently has more than 57 million views on YouTube. Several posts uploaded in the past week by personal accounts pair the song with artwork from Moon Knight, each of which has accumulated tens of thousands of views.

The third episode features an almost exclusively Egyptian playlist. With its percussive lilt and the flair of zurnas, even Walima by Tito Rinesi sounds, as its title suggests, like a wedding from the region.

Warda’s Batwanes Beek is heard after one of DJ Kaboo’s tracks, followed by another Hafez classic Shaghalouny.

Salka by singer Hassan Shakosh and rapper Wegz is also heard in the episode. With incessant hi-hats and a heavy low end, the song is energising and pairs Wegz’s signature lyrical style with the colloquial ceremony of Shakosh’s vocals.

With three more episodes to go before the first season of Moon Knight finishes (it’s still unclear whether the show will have a second season), the mini-series might just dole out more Egyptian classics and contemporary hits as the plot delves deeper into its ancient Egyptian ties.

Updated: April 22, 2022, 2:14 PM
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