CAIRO - For nearly 30 years, his music has made its way to every young Egyptian’s ringtone, but it’s the country’s ancient history that recently propelled composer Hesham Nazih to the realm of superheroes.

Following his career-defining score for the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade last year -- a grandiose spectacle that saw 22 mummies transferred across Cairo to a new museum -- Nazih was tapped to write the music for Marvel Studios’ latest series, “Moon Knight”.

The six-episode saga starring Oscar Isaac tells the story of a superhero who draws his powers from an ancient Egyptian god. “Ancient Egyptian civilisation is extremely appealing for any composer, whether Egyptian or not,” the 50-year-old composer told AFP from his studio in Cairo.

But while drawing inspiration from ancient heritage was “not an artistic goal” in and of itself for the musician, it has allowed him to realise his dream of transcending national boundaries.

In April 2021, all eyes were on the globally streamed procession of mummies through the capital, when Egyptian soprano Amira Selim, clad in a full-length gown adorned with Pharaonic motifs, took the stage with a haunting performance of the Hymn of Isis.

The ode, the lyrics to which were taken from texts in the “Book of the Dead”, was sung in phonetic ancient Egyptian and featured an arrangement of traditional folk instruments along with a classical orchestra, cementing the composer’s genre-shattering prowess.

The result was a media fervour that took Nazih himself by surprise, with the piece being shared widely both in Egypt and abroad. “The audience’s reaction was very moving,” he told AFP, adding that the parade “holds a special place in my heart” as it showcased the talents of Egyptian artists. Riding the ancient Egypt high, the virtuoso was selected to compose the score for Marvel’s Moon Knight, marking his first foray into Hollywood. Helmed by Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, the series has proven massively popular among his compatriots -- despite there being no way to legally stream the show there yet -- due in no small part to Diab’s insistence on the production being an Egyptian affair.