Prison ward, listen in:
I’ve shaken the dice many times,
And gambled with everything on the
big prize and lost,
And bitter though prison is,
I’ve never once wanted to repent.
having bid the night guards good
every single one of them,
the bringi
the kingi
and the shingi,
I say we’re wicked inmates
though the storeroom clerk
has given us different
My first words are for the
my second, for Job;
the third are for my
the fourth, for my destiny;
My fifth, I will say that he
who oppresses others
will himself be defeated one


Negmeyat Documentary

NEGMEYAT is inspired by the works of the late Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. Negm, who died in December 2013, was the best-known vernacular poet in Egypt and, especially due to his political activities over the last 60 years, one of the most influential artists in the whole Middle East.

Ahmed Fouad Negm (b. 1929) wandered from a village childhood in the Egyptian delta province of Sharqiyya, to an orphanage after his father’s early death, to farm work and employment in British occupation army camps near Suez. And then, on he went to prison on a forgery charge. With a prison officer’s encouragement, he submitted his colloquial Arabic poetry for a state prize and won, ironically foreshadowing the fact that many of his later poems would be composed in prison.

The NEGMEYAT project is the first production of an artistic action called THE ESSENCE OF LETTERS, an action dedicated exclusively to the power of words, freedom of speech aiming to establish a platform for regional and international contemporary productions. NEGMEYAT is intended to reflect on the poems of Negm through five different musical concepts, using the classical Contemporary Music ensemble accompanied by vocals (a singers or narrator ) and traditional Arabic instruments. Each composition might also use electronic (real time) music or sound-files.

Interview with Peter Tilling

Listen and watch live recording of the premier

Amr Okba

Rageh Daoud

Hassan Khan

Ahmed Madkour

           Negmeyat was supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and (AFAC) The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture