Firstly, before proceeding to the in-depth analysis, Both Mounir and Kotsiras are highly connected to water streams.
Born in Aswan, Mounir inherited a sense of love and belonging to the Nile, even when he moved to Cairo, he took the Nubian/African culture with him.
Aiming to revive his native culture and music, Mounir’s music reflects Nubian native culture.
Brought up near to the magical spiritual salty taste of the Mediterranean, Kotsiras revives and develops Greek folk music but he is also influenced by different Mediterranean music styles such as the Egyptian style.
Besides his love for Egypt, Kotsiras revealed in his interview with Egypt Today, that he is a big fan of Egyptian music and also has strong relations with the Egyptian community in Athens, as well as with Greeks who were born in Egypt. Kotsiras also said that his mother was born in Alexandria.
Also, impressively both Mounir and Kotsiras show ultimate love towards beautiful Alexandria. In 1990, Mounir released an album entitled “Ya Eskindereya” (Wah, Alexandria).
In 1996, Kotsiras released his song “Alexandria,” and used an Arabic/Egyptian word “Ya Salam” in the song.
In 2006, Kotsiras released a music video entitled “Kapou Tha Vrethome” (We will Meet Again) and it was filmed in Alexandria.
Mounir’s contribution to the Arabic music scene is almost unbelievable. He is the first Arabic/Middle Eastern singer who mixed Jazz with Nubian heritage, in other words, he developed the inherited Nubian music scales, and combined it with new universal Jazz music. Furthermore, Mounir introduced many Nubian concepts in Arabic which is obvious in his song “Wist al-Dayra” (In the Circle’s Center).
On the other coast of the Mediterranean, Kotsiras mixed the epic taste of Athens and the smell of the sea with the rebellious melodic tunes of Jazz and Rock music.
Kotsrias who is a fan of Latiak and remembika types of Greek folk music managed to revive a lot of the forgotten and ignored Greek musical heritage.
Orchestral instruments always captivate the minds of the composer. Many of Mounir’s songs had orchestral music background, enhanced with magnificent tunes of Oud such as “Borg Hamam” (Pigeons Tower) (1995) and “Shababek” (Windows) (1981).
Kotsiras also expressed ultimate love for incorporating orchestral music; he performed many concerts alongside an orchestra, such as “Efta Potiria” (Seven Glasses) (1996) and “Pónos” (Pain) (2000).
Using oriental drum beats and oriental percussion alongside drums, Mounir masters performing dynamic songs based on folk drum beats, such as “Al-Nawasy” (Sidewalks) (2001). Drum beats are taken from the familiar beats of “Al-Zar.”
Moreover, Kotsiras also kept the oriental drum beats style in his music which was obvious in “Ta Vimata” (The Footsteps) (2005). The drum beats are also taken from Al-Zar.
Also, basic oriental percussions including Tabla, and Duf were highly valued in both singers’ music. For example, Mounir presented extremely oriental songs such as “Eqrar” (Endorsement) (2004), while Kotsiras introduced “Ti Na Kanw” (What to Do) (1996).
Both singers liked enriching their music with Rock tunes, especially in Live concerts, like in Mounir’s “El-Kon Koloh Beydor” (The universe is spinning) (1981) and Kotsiras’ “Piran Ta Stithia Mou Fotia.”
Also, they added female vocals to paint the music with more emotional and attractive colors, for example Mounir’s “Sheta” (Winter) (1995) and Kotsiras “Ta Kalokaíria Mas” (Our Summer) (2016) both had female vocals.
Beside Jazz, Mounir added Rock tunes to his music, such as “Ezai” (How) (2011), also Kotsiras combined Rock music with folk Greek, such as “Káne to Himóna kalokaíri” (Make Winter inside the Summer) (2008).
It is worth mentioning that “Ola Ine Psemata” (All the Lies) (2013) by Yiannis Kotsiras is very close to Mounir’s musical style.
Also, music movements of “Eftah Albak” (Open Your Heart) (1994) and “Lei Lei Lei” (Work) (1996) are very close.
Both singers managed to introduce a number of sorrowful songs, like “Sah Ya Badah” (1995) and “An De M’ Agapas” (If you Don’t Love Me) (2006), in addition to “Soal” remixed version (Question) and “Adras Pou Den Eklapse” Live in 2010 (Man Doesn’t Steal).
Both of them sing about universal themes such as childhood, peace, love and freedom. Mounir and Kotsiras have the same aim, singing to introduce real art, and real music.
They open the doors for new ideas and experiences. Mounir expressed childhood feelings in many songs such as “Min Awel Lamsa” (From the early Touch) (1996) while Kotsiras introduced “Ke Pali Pedi” (Child Once Again) (2008).
Regarding “Ke Pali Pedi”, Kotsiras’s music video starts with singing while stepping towards his car, this reminds us of Mounir’s song “Ya Amai” (My Mother) (1978).
In “Ke Pali Pedi” music video, Kotsiras used many videos of his childhood; also Mounir recalls his childhood through “Kol el-Hagat” (Everything) (1989).
Aiming to spread peace, Kotsiras presented “Pass the Flame, Unite the World” (2004), while Mounir introduced “Al-Ard Wel Salam” (Earth and Peace) (2002).
Both singers share the same musical mood sometimes, as in Mounir’s “Eidaya Fi Goyoby” (My Hands in My Pockets) (2010), and “Alby Mayeshbehnesh” (My Heart doesn’t look Like Mine) (2012), “Fi Dayret El Rehla” (In the heart of the Journey), and Kotsiras’ “Agapes Petaloudes” (Love Butterflies) (2016), “Hadra Thalasia” (Picture Frame) (1997), and “Ta Fevga” (I wish I Left) (1999).
In terms of cooperation with other colleagues, Mounir’s song with Hamid el-Shaari “Akeed”(For Sure) (1986) is close to the tunes of legendary Greek singer Haris Alexiou’s song with Yiannis Kotsiras “Ola einai sto mialo” (Everything is in the mind) (2003).
Moving on to another point, which is how both singers act on stage, the experience of Mounir’s concerts is very similar to Kotsiras’ concerts, both like to act spontaneously on the stage, for example clapping hands, shouting “yeah” and “heeeh” and encouraging the audience to sing. Also, they both have really similar body language, specially the movements of the hands.
Yiannis Kotsiras live on the stage [Photo Courtesy: Liora7/Youtube]
File – Mohamed Mounir Live on the stage
Another strange similarity between Mounir and Kotsiras are the covers. For example “Eftah Albak” and “30 Ke Kati” (30 Things) (2004) covers are similar, and the covers of “Min Awel Lamsa,” and “Ke Pali Pedi” are also unbelievably similar. They both tend to use black and white or animated covers, like the covers of “Xilino Alogaki” (Wooden Horseshoe) (2005), and “Min Awel Lamsa.”
“Eftah Albak” (1995) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Rotana/Youtube]
“30 Ke Kati” (2004) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official
“Min Awel Lamsa” (1996) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Mounir Page/Youtube]
“Xilino Alogaki” (2005) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official Website]
“Ke Pali Pedi” (2008) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official Website]
“Momken” (1995) [Photo Courtesy: Mounir page/Youtube]
Yiannis Kotsiras “Pseftis Keros” (2016) photo session [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official website]
Regarding music videos, there are various similarities between them, if we look at Kotsiras’ “Efta Potiria” (1996) and Mounir’s “Laila” (1996), we will find that the two music videos are about attracting a lady, and trying to make her happy; also both music videos showed musicians performing in the street.
“Ya Lila Oudy Tany” (1983) by Mounir and “To Tsigaro” (The Cigarette) (1996) by Kotsiras are so close in terms of location and idea.
Another note concerning “To Tsigaro” is that its atmosphere is so close to the atmosphere of Mounir’s “Bara el-Shababek” (Outside the Windows) (1989).
Both Mounir and Kotsiras introduced music videos portraying friends gathering, such as Mounir’s “Al-Qahera” (Cairo) (2016) and Kotsiras’ “Aftos O Ilios” (This Sun) (2014)
Finally, there is no doubt that Mounir and Kotsiras follow the same path, introducing real and unique art.
Will the audience in Egypt and Greece have the chance to see Mounir and Kotsiras on the same stage or hear their voices in one track? We hope so.