Shadi Megalla is an Egyptian DJ turned entrepreneur who lives in Dubai and runs the city’s only record shop, called The Flip Side. He launched the store in 2014, amidst a peaking worldwide demand for the hands-on medium, as well as during a revolution towards a culture of hipness in Dubai marked by a growing arts scene and DIY mentality. Megalla’s store hosts a number of genres of vinyl such as blues, jazz, soul, hip-hop, reggae, along with compilations of vintage Arab and African music and a rack of electronic singles. What it purposely excludes, however, is mainstream records; Megalla’s intention with the store is to provide a homey place, where people come with an open mind, to discover new material and ease into a more deliberate and slow-paced way of engaging with music.
In addition, Shadi Megalla has a radio show aptly named The Shady Shadow Show. He just released episode 26, which features all vintage Egyptian 45s recovered from a basement in Cairo, mostly from the label Sono Cairo, and restored (meaning they were cleansed of decades of grime) by him and partner Ahmed Dubijad. In the set description, Megalla writes that “as an Egyptian who never lived in my motherland I'm constantly trying to find ways to reconnect to my roots,” and curated the show with the intention of recreating the feeling of listening to music in decades past. The set is full of cheery and nostalgic Egyptian golden oldies and classics, sprinkled with little spots of Italy and America, and occasionally punctuated by the commentary of Megalla and Dubijad. We in Cairo are lucky, as we can kick back on our balconies with a drink, and hand in hand with this set, walk down nostalgia lane. Those of you outside Om el-Donia will have to stretch your imaginations just slightly harder, but this set makes it pretty damn easy.