© Sanni Kahilainen photo

© Sanni Kahilainen photo

Ramy Essam

 ”In the revolution I was born again. The struggle became the purpose of my life.”

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.

Bob Simon reports from Egypt, where he meets the troubadour of the revolution, Ramy Essam, a musician who continues to sing protest songs, despite the brutal torture he has endured.

The Egyptian rock musician performs at the New European Songbook concert in Edinburgh.

The Egyptian rock musician performs at the New European Songbook concert in Edinburgh.

click image to download – © Julie Tørrissen image

click image to download – © Julie Tørrissen image

New Album “Resala Ela Magles Al Amn”  Available Now on All Digital Platforms

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - June 27th, 2017 - Universal Music MENA releases Ramy Essam album “Resala Ela Magles El Amn” (A letter to the UN Security Council). Produced by Andreas Unge, the album is a musical melting pot where the force of Kurt Cobain, the street cool of Joe Strummer, the crossover adventure of Rachid Taha and social criticism of Billy Bragg all come together in a musical journey straight out of Cairo.

Get a taster of the album HERE >>     






“Ramy Essam's performance is a combination of power, introspection, and a musical adeptness rarely seen or heard.  He weaves a theme throughout his show that is certain to move even the hardest of hearts.”
— Steve Tucker, Executive Director of The Michigan Theatre of Jackson, Co-Director of The International Music Festival

“Ramy Essam’s participation in the 27th Concert of Colors included a panel and performance at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, home of the highest concentration of Arab Americans. His story resonated deeply with the audience and other panelists, which included many communities of color fighting for freedom in this complicated world. His performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts was regarded by many loyal Concert of Colors fans as one of the most moving performances of all time. His talent, his story, his band, and kind heart really brought the full package. We look forward to many future Detroit visits by Ramy Essam.”
— Kathryn S. Grabowski, Humanities Program Coordinator, Arab American National Museum

”I saw Ramy Essam and he was breathtaking. I learned his backstory and it brought me to tears. Then I saw him live and was blown away by his power and passion and complete soul-driven delivery. Love, loved him! He's a force of nature.”
– Lisa Schwartz, Festival Director, Philadelphia Folk Festival

“One of the biggest highlights of this year's Folk Alliance International Conference was discovering Ramy Essam. I first caught him doing an impromptu performance in the hallways of the Westin hotel with Kansas City artist Calvin Arsenia. Although both artists had just met, they played together beautifully. They mesmerized everyone that walked by and attracted a captive audience. Later, I caught the full band for his official performance that was both breathtaking and inspirational. His story of overcoming struggle and using music to protest oppression is extremely powerful.”
Rhonda Lyne, Midwest Music Foundation