Dr. Aida

Mutamassik
Egypt / Italy
Musician and Producer Mutamassik dedicates a song to her grandmother, who was forced by her own mother to give up her dream of becoming a doctor and instead follow cultural tradition by marrying and having children. Mutamassik’s song honors the sacrifice her grandmother and other women of previous generations have made, and offers gratitude that changing social structures and progress in women’s rights have allowed her to pursue a career in a male-dominated industry while also being a wife and mother.

 

My maternal grandmother, Aida Tedros Guirguis, was to be one of the first documented women doctors in Egypt. She was studying medicine in Cairo in the 1920's when her mother, Tafida Tedros, took her out of school and forced her to marry my grandfather Emerhoum Hanna El Qommos. According to custom, the eldest daughter must marry before the others can.

During her studies, she had made groundbreaking research discoveries, which were recognized only decades later and subsequently published in a major Egyptian medical journal in the 1970's.

My grandmother’s story presents an existential dilemma for me: in my eyes, forcing a brilliant, young woman to quit school to marry is reprehensible. Yet, I would probably not exist if my great grandmother hadn't been so cruel and conventional.

In my grandmother's footsteps, I'm keeping the flame alive by being a professional music producer, engineer and turntableist—a field dominated by men—while also being a wife and mother. I am making sure every step of the way that,unlike too many of my generation, I don't spit on the struggles of our ancestors.

I dedicated this track to my grandmother (and her mother) by giving her, through my love and creative license, the title she never had.  My goal as a mother is to set an example that ensures my son does not grow up with the social prejudices that have relegated us all to debilitating gender stereotypes like those that my grandmother faced.

The music in “Dr. Aida” is hard and rhythmical--another musical stereotype prescribed to men only--and full of the tensions and beauty that is motherhood, day-to-day life, and the human condition.

 

All instruments and tracks performed, produced, engineered, written and mixed by Mutamassik at Rocca AlMileda Studios/G.G.S.S. 2011.

About The Artist 

Mutamassik, meaning “stronghold” or “tenacity” in Arabic, is also known as Giulia Loli and is a producer, musician, DJ, artist and synesthete. She is a pioneer of Sa'aidi Hardcore & Baladi Breakbeats. Mutamassik has worked with David Byrne's Luaka Bop, Arto Lindsay, Musicians of the Nile, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Joan Osborne, Butch Morris, Greg Tate, Elliott Sharp, Bachir Attar, and many others. She founded Sa'aidi Hardcore Productions in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1996 and publishing house and record label label KMT BABOMB USA. She runs her studio G.G.S.S/Rocca AlMileda, which has been set up as both fixed and mobile in Brooklyn, Cairo & Tuscany. Learn more at www.roughamericana.com.