Sweden | Egypt
Egypt’s Ramy Essam exploded into international fame as the real voice of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, when his songs spread like wildfire among the demonstrators. During the height of the uprising, he performed in front of millions of people in Tahrir Square, and his music became the soundtrack of a whole generation of his countrymen and women struggling for a better life and a more just society. His song Irhal, in which he demands the resignation of then-ruler Hosni Mubarak, is referred to as the real anthem of the revolution.
But fame came with a heavy price. Ramy experienced brutal torture and arrests that were meant to silence his voice. His songs were banned and he was forbidden to perform publicly. He resolved to come out even stronger against oppression, saying “In the revolution I was born again. The struggle became the purpose of my life.”
In 2014, Sweden offered him a safe haven – and with his voice freed, he’s toured and released rock-influenced recordings that prove he remains one of the loudest voices for the young generation in Egypt and their fight for a progressive and modern society. He’s also become an international symbol of social activism, and a beacon of bravery in the Middle East and the rest of the world. He performs with a band of both Swedish and Egyptian musicians, and in addition to other credits, was recently awarded the Spirit of Folk Award by the Folk Alliance International.