10 Arab pop stars singing on tracks for Ramadan 2024 TV shows: From Elissa to Assala

A good opening theme song sets the scene for the drama to come

Syrian singer Assala Nasri is one of a number of Arab pop stars recording songs for Ramadan dramas. AFP
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The secret to a Ramadan hit drama is not always what's seen on the small screen. Sometimes, it's what's heard.

For about four decades, the most popular television seasonal offerings have been defined by theme songs often sung by popular singers.

These ditties are colloquially known as titrat (or titar in the singular) and they can make the programme stand out from the competition, maintaining its appeal long after Ramadan concludes.

Some have become so popular that they subsequently became solo hits for the artist, often dominating playlists on streaming platforms.

Here are ten key tracks from this Ramadan season.

1. Ana Mish Soutak by Elissa

The theme song for the Lebanese series A'a Amal is well within Elissa’s wheelhouse – yearning strings, fluttering oud and a sensitive vocal performance.

Translated to I Am Not Your Voice, the song echoes the main character's story – a renowned ballerina finding her feet when it comes to forming relationships.

2. Al Joker by Assala

Titrats are often opportunities for established stars to creatively stretch out on occasion, as is the case in this stark ballad from Syrian singer Assala.

Taken from the Egyptian series Ne'mat El Avvocato, Assala’s gloriously husky voice sails over a ruminative piano and cello in a lovelorn ballad about missed opportunities.

3. Said El Aqareb by Nawal El Kuwaitia

No stranger to the form, the Kuwaiti singer contributes her seasoned talent to the Egyptian drama. In many ways, the tender song – translated to Scorpion Hunting and named after the series title – offers a respite from the overwrought drama about family conflict.

4. Serr Elahy - Bel Qanoon by Hamza Namira

Singer-songwriter Hamza Namira has scored a solo hit with the theme song for the revenge drama of the same name. Topping the Anghami Egyptian charts last week, the song exhibits Namira's qualities, from conversational and poetic lyrics to the acoustic guitar arrangements.

5. Al Atwala by Ahmed El Sakka and Tarek Lotfy

There should be no complaints about the efforts of Ahmed El Sakka and Tarek Lotfy. As well as starring in the Egyptian crime caper series Al Atwala, the duo also sang the theme song for the series. Well, with a lot of help from autotune, that is. While their vocals are so heavily processed that it’s hard to discern their authentic voices, the enthusiasm found on the thumping mahraganat track is undeniable.

6. Same't Soutan by Wael El Fashny

Taken from Al Hashashin, this is a fine showcase for Egyptian folk singer Wael El Fashny. His powerful vocals dominate this semi-operatic tune and sets the scene for this historical drama about a group of assassins running riot in the 14th century Middle East.

7. Chkoun Kan Ygoul by Balqees

Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees brings some Khaleeji pop flair for the Moroccan drama Bayn Al Qosour. With the singer recently releasing a string of underwhelming club-friendly singles, this ballad is a welcome return to her vocal strengths.

8. Min Kothr Hobbi Lak by Aseel Hameem

After her hit effort with last year's Kuwaiti drama Alnun Wama Yaalamun, Iraqi singer Aseel Hameem returns to lend her talents to the Ramadan gulf drama Min Kothr Hobbi Lak.

Loosely translated to I Love You So Much, the track should see Hameem solidify her status as one of the most streamed artists in the region with a breezy Khaleeji pop track filled with pathos.

9. Ahlan Ya Esaba by Medhat Saleh

The veteran Egyptian shows his craftsmanship as a singer and composer in this this peppy titar for Egyptian drama Embratoreyet Meem.

10. Lunch Box by Perrie

Egyptian rapper Perrie adds some much-needed vigour to this year's Ramadan musical offerings with this cool track to Lunch Box.

Perrie brings that signature sass and smart word play in an Egyptian remake of the American crime-comedy series Good Girls.

Updated: March 21, 2024, 12:30 AM