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  • Hana & Maged: Egypt’s New Favourite Duet Talk About Their Rise to Fame

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    You may remember Hana & Maged from their amazeballs performance on CBC’s Sahibet al Saada a week or so ago.

    The duo has been around for much longer than that, though, so if that was your first time to experience their broadway-esque performances, you’re late to the game.

    Curious about how they started and why the hell they’re not on EVERY CHANNEL? We were too! Here’s the dish from the duet themselves:

     

    How did you get into performing?

    Hana: I started when I was at school – they encourage music and performing in general, so I was always part of the choir and I took part in music competitions; that’s where my passion started to develop. Then when I entered uni, I entered Fabrica; that’s when I realised I wanted to take it to another level and perform.
    Maged: I’ve been singing since I was seven – I also took part in the choir and I used to do school plays and read poetry. That was in primary school, but in high school I had no chance to perform, so when I started uni, I joined Fabrica, where I met Hana.

    Tell us more about that – how you met and started performing together.

    M: We met in Fabrica’s first production, Les Miserables, which was part of Nesma Mahgoub’s graduating project. Our relationship got closer when we travelled to America with Fabrica and toured in four states.
    H: When we came back, we entered the Student Union talent show together. We started off by singing pop songs at the audition, but found out we have chemistry and can move really well together, so we thought about doing musical theatre.

    Was there ever a discussion where you two sat down and said, ‘hey, we should be a ‘thing’?

    H: After winning second place in the talent show we thought about making it bigger….
    M: ….taking it to the next level.

    How do you explain that palpable chemistry you two have on stage?

    M: Maybe because our personalities are similar in many ways….
    H: Yeah, it’s creepy, actually. *laughs*
    M: We have the same ambition.
    H: But I think chemistry is something you develop – our chemistry got better as time passed. And people started noticing that and telling us they could feel it.
    M: I’ve performed with other people, but whenever I perform with Hana we click.
    H: ….’cause we’re also best friends, so that plays into it.

    How did you prepare for that first show together [at the talent show] ?

    H: We brainstormed what songs would appeal to the audience and we thought Grease would be good because it’s so popular in Egypt.
    M: And we wanted to enter not as a duet singing a song – we wanted to do something different and put on a show.
    H: We showed diversity in the audition – that we could sing, dance and act.
    M: And as we went through the competition, we added things to our act, like costumes and a story at the end….
    H: ….Connectors to make it into a plot. Afterwards, one of the judges, who was a maestro at the Opera House, invited us to perform in the Main Hall alongside Medhat Saleh.

    Have you ever quarrelled over performances or your public image as performers?

    H: Most of our disagreements are concerning songs to perform. I’m very into musical theatre and he’s very pop-oriented, so we sometimes struggle to compromise.
    M: But along the way, we kept modifying our vision and what we want to do.
    H: We transform it into a song that’s being performed, not just sung.

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    How did you manage to perform on CBC’s Sahibet al Saada?

    M: Nesma was preparing this episode with Esaad Younis, and she knows us very well….
    H: ….Since we started, she’s supported us.
    M: And she found that in this particular episode she was arranging for songs from musicals, so she thought we’d be a good fit.

    How did you feel before going on air?

    H: We were nervous, but actually, Maged and I feel comfortable once we’re on stage. It’s before we step onstage, but once we’re on we feel home. We had to repeat things multiple times because of technicalities concerning lighting and cameras. Also, it’s easier when we have a live audience because we feed off of the energy; the audience was just a handful of people for this recording. Interacting with the camera is not very intimate.

    Do you see yourselves going the whole hog and performing as a full-time career, or is this just a side thing?

    H: As a duet, I think it’s a side thing because we have our separate paths; I want to pave my path as a soloist.
    M: I’m working on stuff artistically and in life in general, and she’s taking acting lessons…..
    H: But ‘Hana & Maged’ will always be there.

    [To Hana] So you want to get into acting?

    H: Film acting, yes. I’ve already done some TV Commercials for OLX and Persil. I started loving this field because of the OLX experience – the director and assistant director were really helpful.

    There are rumours going around that the two of you are dating; is this true?

    H: No, we’re best friends. I’m dating someone, though – he’s one of my greatest sources of support, as well as my family.

    I think the ladies will be happy to hear Maged is single….

    M: Single and ready to mingle! *laughs*

    If you enjoyed Hana & Maged’s CBC performance, make sure to catch them with the same cast from the show, this Friday (December 16th) at Westown Hub, and in early February performing with Fabrica at AUC’s Falaki Theatre.
    __________

    By Salma Thanatos Rizk

    Photo Courtesy of Adbelrhman Orabi

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