Egyptian composer Amir Hedayah wins Hollywood award for work in MBC TV series

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Egyptian musician and composer Amir Hedayah, well-known for his work on top-charting Arabic film & TV Shows, has recently been announced as one of the winners at the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) for his work in the MBC TV series ‘Dofaat Beirut.’

Hedayah, was nominated for Best Title Music in a Foreign TV show thanks to his outstanding soundtrack for the Lebanese TV show ‘Dofaat Beirut.’ and for Best World Music track for his original single ‘El Otoor.’

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“The show is about Beirut in the ’60s,” says Hedayah, “so it was one unusual challenge for me to musically-capture the essence of another country in another time period with a hint of the French influence on the Lebanese music that took place at this period of Lebanon’s history.

“Using this music palette, I had to create different emotions for the show like romance, disturbance, joy and sorrow.”

The HMMA - instituted in 2009 -- were the first to celebrate and honor original music in visual media including films, TV programs, video games and more. They’ve since grown to become the industry standard, recognizing huge international companies like Disney and Netflix as well as more diverse works and scores from animation shorts, independent productions, and foreign TV shows.

Off the back of his win, Hedayah says he is working alongside the Recording Academy AKA the Grammys to create a new award category shedding light on more diverse world-music artistes who he believes “deserve wider international recognition.”

Second nomination in a year

While the nomination and success for his work on ‘Dofaat Beirut’ might have been a very pleasant surprise for a mainstream project, Hedayah’s other HMMA nomination for ‘El Otoor’ was the result of people power taking his music viral.

‘El Otoor’ is a gorgeous track and was rightly nominated in the World Music category. But the single almost didn’t exist as it was originally created simply as a musical doodle to fight boredom- - and lift spirits -- during a COVID-induced lockdown.

Although the track – which started to go viral -- didn’t exist beyond the one-minute video at the time, followers and friends began asking when the full version of the track would be released.

Hedayah then worked to create a full version of ‘El Otoor,’ releasing it on August 27 last year.

The track is essentially a love-song to simpler times, bringing out an authentic Egyptian farm-side sound fused with Flamenco jazz harmonies. So it’s perhaps no surprise it resonated during the lockdown, providing a precious escape for listeners across the world.

“It felt amazing to get international recognition for something that represents your original culture,” says Hedayah.

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