Fawazeer Cassette : A nostalgic Ramadan tribute to a great era

Fawazeer Cassette
(Design: Jordan News)
Fawazeer Cassette, a Jordanian show presented by Mohammed Qaq, pays tribute to the traditional Egyptian Ramadan TV broadcast Fawazeer by reviving music sketches and riddles that allow audiences to engage and win. اضافة اعلان

Despite the historical tribute, Qaq takes a modern approach to his around two-minute episodes by posting his bits only on Facebook and Instagram. And in every Fawazeer Cassette episode Qaq invites a guest and plays a song or a mash-up of a popular 70s or 80s hit, portraying a light, youthful, and rhythmic edge with dance and comedy spiked frequently into the pieces.

Golden era and cassettes

Qaq, who is a visual artist and multimedia storytelling trainer, told Jordan News: “I picked this title because it’s what people used to get their music on — cassettes — during the 70s and until the 90s and early 2000. It’s a reminder of those good old days of Fawazeer.”

“These days were the golden era, of creativity, music, joyful spirits, and dancing shows. That’s what we lack nowadays.”

To revive the golden era, Qaq plays covers of the most iconic songs of that time and poses a question related to it.

In every Fawazeer Cassette episode Mohammed Qaq invites a guest and plays a song or a mash-up of a popular 70s or 80s hit. (Photos: Handout from Fawazeer Cassette)

According to Qaq, Fawazeer Cassette celebrates an era where Arabic songs were liberated from the shackles of traditional sorrow and heartbreak and instead moved to more free melodies and rhythm. The lighter representation of the 70s, 80s, and 90s in music also encouraged body movement and storytelling through music as a means to document the time period, which Qaq aims to revive.

Beyond Qaq being a fan of the era, he believes that Fawazeer Cassette honors a group of singers and musicians who changed the artistic scene back then and hopes that it introduces millennials and generation Z to those icons.

Classical Arabic TV and music influence

As expected, Qaq derives his inspiration from 70s, 80s, and 90s TV and music, especially classical Arab music. However, the element of surprise is also present as Qaq stated that he follows his gut instinct, especially during studio recording for broadcasting.

“During the visual storyboard, the team and I make many changes again and again on the spot. Inspiration kicks off and the music starts playing and we record it differently based on the inspiration,” said Qaq.

“It is not easy to have an independent production with a few individuals. A big effort is made to produce every single episode,” he added, highlighting the effort it takes to create and shoot each episode to best reach the greatest amount of audiences.

This is not the first time Qaq present such a show. During the COVID-19 quarantine in 2020, he had a show called Mahjour Afandi, and it followed a similar beat to this one

Social media outreach

On average, internet users worldwide are said to consume around 147 minutes per day, according to Statista Research Department.

Qaq contended that social media is currently “the big game” and a “powerful tool” which is why he posts every episode on Fawazeer Cassette online.

Traditional history of Fawazeer

The tradition of Fawazeer dates back to the 1950s and has remained up to now, but the peak of Fawazeer was when by Nelly and Sherihan presented Fawazeer in the 1980s and 1990s, forming part of the childhood nostalgia that Qaq wishes to recreate.

Although many actors had participated in Ramadan entertainment prior — including Yehia El-Fakharany, Sabreen, Sherine Reda, and famous belly dancers Dina and Lucy — Nelly, Sherihan, and Ghaneim are considered the standouts of Ramadan TV riddles.

Lebanese singer Miryam Fares also presented Fawazeer Ramadan, but the Egyptian riddles always won over the audiences more.

Previously, the traditional Ramadan riddles were a short 10-minute broadcast containing dance numbers and sketches that present an affectionate pastiche of Egyptian pop culture of the pre-satellite TV era.

Each episode revolved around a riddle anchored to a specific theme followed through for an entire 30-episode season that audiences were asked to solve.

Despite the costs for producing those shows being extremely costly, since it demanded multi-talented stars who could act, sing and dance, Fawazeer Ramadan, was one of the most precious memories of 80s-90s children inspiring them to continue production.

Fawazeer Ramadan represents nostalgic moments of happiness people get after breaking their fast, bringing them back to when life was much lighter and TV production was exclusive and far from the digital revolution which later changed.

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