The song, Talat Dakkat (Three Beats) seems to have appeared out of nowhere and is now in everybody’s head! It was first performed live by superstar Yousra and acoustic singer/ songwriter, Abu, at the closing ceremony of El Gouna Film Festival and it immediately became the festival’s signature song. Since then, no one who watched it live or on TV could stop humming its catchy tune and romantic lyrics. The video of the song, shot in El Gouna with a number of celebrity stars who were attending the festival, was released soon after and went viral with 8.5 million views just in its first 2 weeks. These days, Talat Dakkat can be heard everywhere, in taxis, offices, and even at graduation ceremonies, all over Egypt. eniGma’s Farida El Sayed got the chance to chat with Yousra and Abu to find out the story behind their hit song.
he story of Talat Dakkat actually goes a bit further back than El Gouna Film Festival, held last September. Last August, also in El Gouna, Abu met with famed screenwriter and actor, Tamer Habib by coincidence. He told Habib that he had written the first two lines of a song about a guy who sat gazing at the sea thinking about his life’s tribulations, when suddenly he sees this woman, falls in love and forgets all his troubles. “I stopped there,” Abu told Habib, “I didn’t know exactly where to go with the words from there.” The next day, the two sat together for a couple of hours and finished the song. Abu couldn’t think of anyone other than Yousra to sing the female part in the song. He admits that at the time, “it was really farfetched,” that he could get her to sing it with him. Yet, when they met, and Yousra listened to the song, she fell in love with it. “Let’s do it!” she said. Abu couldn’t believe his ears. “What did you say?” he asked, incredulously. “I said, Let’s go!” the superstar replied, with a big smile.
While Yousra, has dabbled with singing over the years, her iconic celebrity star status is obviously based on her amazing body of work in film and on TV. So, why did Abu have Yousra in mind for his song? “Yousra is the only one I thought of. She is the only diva we have in the region. She is the number 1. She is Yousra!” he repeatedly exclaims. Yousra graciously interjects with her own reasoning behind the unlikely collaboration, “Abu offered me a unique proposition. He studied my voice very well before presenting me with the melody. There was a chemistry between us in the song.” As they recount the story behind their song, the back and forth between the young singer/songwriter and his idol radiates a genuine appreciation for one another and what seems like a new strong friendship. Yousra continues, “It’s true. There were many things that I appreciated very much in him and the song. Abu’s understanding of my voice and the nice way he behaves. And the beautiful meanings of the lyrics.”
The chemistry is also evident among all participants in the celebrity cameos in the video of the song. The cameos were not originally planned; but, upon hearing the song, all the stars wanted to get involved. “Everybody came with such good intentions, with a feeling of love and with such energy. We were all so happy,” Yousra exclaims. This amazing feeling is what made it possible to film the video within a span of 24 hours, while everyone was present at the festival. As for the video’s directorial success, it lies with the brilliant, Mariam Abu Auf. Yousra also points out how Naguib Sawiris’s love for the song and his support played a big part in its success and gave it that initial push.
“In keeping with the theme of your song, what’s the craziest thing each of you has done for love?” I ask. Abu excitedly admits, “I ran over bridges. I traveled countries. I did a lot of things! I am so passionate when it comes to love. I love love, so I will do anything for love!” Abu adds that his song Ahwak, a remix to Abdel-Halim Hafez’s famous love ballad, was actually inspired by a girl he saw at Frankfurt Airport but never got to know! Yousra agrees with Abu about love, saying, “The sky’s the limit. I believe that when you’re in love, you don’t think, you don’t calculate. Love is unconditional.”
And what’s next after the amazing success of this hit song? Good news for Abu’s fans! Talat Dakkaat will be the first song in his upcoming first album, “Sharbat.” Abu adds that, every month, he will be releasing a single from the album. When asked if he would ever think of entering Yousra’s world of acting, he replies that he’s open to the idea, as long as it is a project he genuinely loves. “I like doing anything that involves film,” he adds.
What about Yousra’s future plans? There are obviously quite a few projects ahead for the superstar, but for now, she says, she just wants to bask in the success of the song.