Friday April 12th, 2024
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Alexandrian Band 4 El Fagr Release Their Debut Album ‘Mafraa Taree’

4 El Fagr’s debut album longs with angst in a portrait of what it feels like to reach a crossroads.

Layla Raik

Alexandrian Band 4 El Fagr Release Their Debut Album ‘Mafraa Taree’

The musical manifestation of our 4 AM blues, doubts and dreams are at a crossroads - we’ve all been here, though, haven’t we? Eternally characteristic of 4 El Fagr’s music is its distant relatability - the sense that the stories their music chronicles feel vaguely familiar, like something you’ve experienced in a dream, despite their uniqueness of experience.

Their debut album, ‘Mafraa Taree’’, maintains this dissociative experience. Across this nine-track playlist, however, it has become a more elaborate and concrete story. As a native Alexandrian, having known of 4 El Fagr since 2019, all the way through ‘Yareit’, ‘El Leil Metawel’, ‘Had Tany’ and ‘Meseery Ansak’, I find it awe-striking how much of a culmination of Alexandrian soundscapes and the essence of yearning (potentially, yearning by the Mediterranean) their album is.

The band’s ability to maintain a distinct sonic identity representative of prominent, albeit subtle, city-to-city musical differences throughout the years fills me with patriotic joy and admiration. A uniquely Alexandrian sound exists - as I’ve speculated but also as confirmed by Cairene listeners - and is kept alive by 4 El Fagr.

Starting at ‘Bedayet El Taree’, the album opens on a hopeful note, with optimistic chords that sound like dusk sonically expressed. The instrumental gives way to ‘Taht El Nugoom’, a quiet, jazz-resemblant track that poses as a conversation between the yearner and the yearned-for, be that a lover or a metaphor for something larger.

Two tracks later, Mog El Bahr sets in stone the band’s Alexandrian identity. Louder chords, louder vocals, and a distinct noise like that of the Mediterranean sea hitting Alexandrian coast boulders set the track apart from the rest of the album, as the lyrics tell of how the waves of the sea come at the yearner in question in the absence of their person. Despite its elevated angst, the song remains, ultimately, made in love, chronicling the story of the friendship one can make with the waves in the stars’ absence.

In Saa’altak Habibi, Abdelrahman Khalil, the lead vocalist, ponders the unanswered questions that accompany every ending, strongly vocalising worries of resentment, love and loss alongside the passage of time. Here, 4 El Fagr’s instruments harmonise to sonically story the clashes within.

The album closes on a more upbeat, albeit sad, note in the titular track ‘Mafraa Taree’’. Khalil reaches a point of unprecedented yearning, disclosing to the night that its air elicits his tears for what was lost - before the song picks up the pace and opens into a danceable tune. Such is the night, after all.


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