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  • Mo Ismail

Dubai artists score Egypt's official 2018 World Cup anthem

As Egypt gears up for the World Cup - having qualified to play in the event after a gap of 28 years - a small team of UAE-based artists released the official anthem of Egypt's national football team, that will ring out during the matches.

Launched earlier this week ahead of Friday's game, the music video of "El Leila Gena" (Tonight, we have come) is already going viral among Egyptian die-hard football fans, achieving over 100,000 views so far.

Mo Ismail Ismail collaborated with a small team of artists in Dubai to produce the song in less than two months. The Egyptian Football Association has agreed to take up as the team's official anthem.

The music video sees singer Ahmed Hassan, a former member of The5 pop band that finished second during the X Factor Arabia in 2015, singing in five different cities in Egypt with different segments of Egyptian society holding up the flag.

Mo Ismail, the song producer and music video director, said the project goes beyond a sentiment that will unite millions of football fans during the game. "It's a song through which we want to prove that we can do anything we set our minds to," said Ismail, managing director of Mo2 and a UAE resident for the past eight years.

To shoot the video, Ismail drove a small Chevrolet around Egypt with Hassan to film in Cairo, Alexandria, Asyut and Qena, Luxor and Hurghada in one week. "We drove 1,800Km in one week, shooting up to 10 hours a day, to get the filming done. It was exhausting but the results were worth the effort," said Ismail.

Shifting his role from producing to directing, Ismail said he spent a week before flying to Egypt to learn to use the equipment. "The production plan and locations were determined, but I needed to educate myself on how to use a camera to shoot such kind of video."

Ismail and Hassan worked to generate the beats with the support of a sound engineer in Dubai, before getting the lyrics ready by a locally-based songwriter.

In 48 hours, the vocals and the beat were recorded in a studio, with only the music video to be filmed in Egypt using equipment provided by Sony. "The key was to showcase different parts of Egypt and produce a song that can be used during the World Cup and beyond," said Ismail.

A 17-year-old student, Amir De Leon, spent five hours every day for five days, editing the final music video.

The song is already playing on radio stations in Egypt, Oman and Lebanon. If anything, Ismail said, the project proves that people can do anything as long as they are willing and open to learn. "We have a self-limiting belief that we can't do things, but it's about having resources and learning to manage them."

He added that Dubai has been the creative hub of the Middle East, encouraging the youth to aim and achieve high.

Meanwhile, Hassan, who recently moved to UAE, said the song has had a "great feedback." "Starting my career path as a solo artist couldn't have been better. To be associated with a song dedicated to Egypt in a very special game that came after a long wait is something I will always remember," said Hassan.

"We wanted to produce a song that will unite people and make them enjoy the occasion," he said, adding that the music video gave him the chance to explore cities like Luxor that he has never seen before.

Hassan has already recorded another song in Egypt to be filmed in Dubai next month. "Dubai provides an environment for creativity, and it keeps growing as a city. I plan to produce more work here," he said.

The song will start playing on Virgin Radio Dubai from Friday, June 15.

Published: Wed 13 Jun 2018


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