Online Since 2004.

Month: November 2011

A Short Video History of Mass Media Arab Revolutionary Music

Here’s a short video compilation of five major Arab musical initiatives discussing the state of the Arab world. I can’t find the exact dates, but let’s assume that the first in the batch starts in the 1950’s, giving us a 60-year time period of revolutionary music.

Post-colonial Revolutionary Tone:
الجيل الصاعد

Hopeful, Arab Nationalistic “Tomorrow Will Be Better” Tone:
وطنى حبيبى الوطن الاكبر

“Shit, this Ain’t Working” Tone:
الحلم العربي

“Still Not Working!” Tone:
الضمير العربي

The Defeatist Tone:
بكرا

Everything Will Die Eventually

Profound.

Alaa Wardi: Gash3arteeni Lama 7akeiti…

I know I’ve already shared my love for Alaa Wardi , but whatever.

This guy is freakin’ amazing.

مبارح، مو بكرا

This “legendary” production – featuring Quincy Jones and a gazillion Arab pop stars – has been making the rounds on my Facebook stream.

In the first few seconds, given the sunny, post-revolutionary vibe, I thought the initiative was a bit interesting. I mean, the main beneficiaries of the initiative appear to be from the Gulf. The logos at the bottom of the page are those of MBC, Dubai Culture, Du, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha Film Institute, and Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation. We all know that the Gulf is not particularly fond of the “Oh, let us Arabs love one another” nationalistic mentality. It hasn’t been supportive of the Arab Spring, either, obviously, which added to my surprise.

From a musical perspective, the initial interest stemmed from nostalgia, seeing the talented likes of Majida Al-Roomi and Kathem El-Saher performing after years away from the spotlight.

But then, as I watched, I started getting angry.

“We are a new day; we are a banner for peace. We are the flute of love and the soul of music.We are a thousand and one nights from the East of dreams.”

Shut up, for god’s sake.

We are fricking tired of the same, boring, clichéd style of Arabic music we’ve been subjected to for the past 20 years. We are sick of the empty words, the parroted meaning, and the Orientalist approach to how we think of our own identity as Arabs. We are sick of crappy, tasteless mass culture being supported so vehemently by media moguls with fiscal agendas.

Seriously? Tamer Hosny? Latifa? Diana Karazon? Marwan Khoury? Hani Mitwasi? Sherine? Saber Rebai? Hayat Al Idrissi? Even the selection of Majida Al-Roumi and Kathem AlSaher, with all due respect to these two talented artists, is WTF.

Dude. These are the voices of yesteryear. These are the voices of ignorance, of oppression, of blind acceptance. These are the voices of fear.

No. This will not be our tomorrow. This is not what we want tomorrow to be.

Down with the poster boys of low culture, empty concepts, and outdated ideas.

We want something real. Shut the f*** up.

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