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We're going to end this hour now with the soundtrack of a revolution. The music that inspired protesters who today brought down Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Elizabeth Blair has their story.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: Perhaps the most popular song of the Egyptian revolution is by Mohamed Mounir, a singer who is so revered he's known as The Voice of Egypt.

(Soundbite of song, "Ezzay")

Mr. MOHAMED MOUNIR (Singer): (Singing in foreign language)

BLAIR: The song is called "Ezzay," which means how come? Dalia Ziada, a blogger and human rights activist in Cairo, says Mounir compares Egypt to a lover.

Ms. DALIA ZIADA (Blogger and Human Rights Activist): He's telling it, I love you, and I know you love me too, but you have to appreciate what I'm doing for you. I will keep changing you until you love me as I love you.

BLAIR: Ziada says that's exactly how Egyptians feel about their country. She says Mounir's song was not played on Egyptian state radio, but the video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times online.

Artists can often express the feeling on the streets better than anyone else, says Hani Almadhoun, founder of the website hotarabmusic.com. He says take one of the very first songs to be released by the artist Haitham Nabil.

Mr. HANI ALMADHOUN (Blogger, hotarabmusic.com): It's called "Sefr," which means zero. It's also about, you know, how the dignity of the Egyptian became an equivalent of zero.

(Soundbite of song, "Sefr")

Mr. HAITHAM NABIL (Singer): (Singing in foreign language)

BLAIR: There's been a lot of songs inspired by the protests in Egypt. Hani Almadhoun, who goes by Hanitizer online, says some songwriters are exploiting the opportunity.

Mr. ALMADHOUN: But the majority of the stuff I have seen has been really good, and it drives the message home.

(Soundbite of song, "January 25")

Mr. OMAR OFFENDUM (Rapper): First, they ignore you.

BLAIR: One song that's been very popular with Arab-Americans in the U.S. begins by quoting Gandhi. It was written by Omar Offendum.

Mr. OFFENDUM: It's a quote that basically says: First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

BLAIR: The song is called "January 25," the day demonstrators took to the streets.

(Soundbite of song, "January 25")

Mr. OFFENDUM: (Rapping) ...then you win. I heard them say the revolution won't be televised. Al Jazeera proved them wrong. Twitter has them paralyzed. Eighty million...

BLAIR: Six Arab-American artists living in different parts of North America contributed to the song.

Mr. OFFENDUM: And then the first lines from my verse are: I heard them say the revolution won't be televised. Al Jazeera proved them wrong. Twitter has them paralyzed.

And I wanted to open up with that because it kind of symbolized a lot of the ways in which people were hearing about this revolution unfold.

BLAIR: "January 25" has been viewed over a hundred thousand times online. Omar Offendum is proud of the song, but he says the real music that defines the revolution in Egypt was created on the streets there.

Mr. OFFENDUM: Protesters were coming up with amazing call-and-response songs and chants on the fly, as Egyptians do, because they're so creative.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Group: (Singing in foreign language)

BLAIR: Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Group: (Singing in foreign language)

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