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New Releases

Abed Azrie, Omar Khayyam

abed azrie, "omar khayyam"

the other day, an acquaintance asked me to help him find an arabic song.
i asked if he had any leads.
"Ah!, they keep saying 'habiby' in it," he replied, proudly.
"well...," i responded assuredly, "i guess we've narrowed it down to just about every arabic song ever released..."
this is one of those albums. yep.
lets just call it arabian nights meets edith piaf.
and abed's voice....if the late king hussein could sing, this is probably what it would have sounded like. his voice is deep and hollow like a vessel.
his woeful crooning is tender as a father singing his child to sleep.
but we like. and the CD booklet art is kinda neat looking too.
accordions, strings, nais, bongos, qanoun... you have to love these travelling troubadours of east and west as they pluck away melodramatically behind this pied piper stepping to the serious poetry of monsieur Omar Khayyam.
pluck, pluck, swoon, swoon, croon, croon and caravan beats galore.
a Damascene stroll through the Parisien?
successful?
i should say! jamais vu if i ever heard it.
lets face it ...it's as Robert Pirsig predicted, the square and the circle will converge one day, phallus will talk to whatever it's latin name is, and a new harmony will be born in the world. Don't you think so?
abed baby, rock on.

 
Not So New Releases

El-Funoun, Zaghareed

1. el-funoun, "zaghareed"

probably the best reproduction of traditional mediterranean arab wedding music to be released commercially.
yep, the palestinians have taken the cake/hareeseh
gorgeous vocal and musical arrangements.
I've read too many accounts that say arabic music contains no harmony. oh my children, how wrong you are.
and who's the deluded (diluted? dilated?) man (one Jeff Grubb ) at amazon.com who claims (in my best 'House of Lords' imitation):

"It subtly challenges the traditions of arranged marriages and of the woman's place in society"

because baby i have a bone to pick with him.
oh. jeff. jeffrey. jefferson.
challenges? exactly how?
look again.
this album is laced with the lyrics of misogyny.
to make matters worse, the women perpetuate them.
they belt them out like there was no tomorrow. (Y2K anyone?)
that's how it goes half all the time in our part of the world, right? (itsharrafna)
especially when it comes to that sacred institution called MMMMMarriage (can you tell I'M A DYKE?)

is it jeff's fault, we ask? upon further investigation of this very question, i concluded that our friend (we'll just call him 'GRUBB' -for brevity's sake) may not actually understand arabic so a lot of the lyrics probably went right over his head (send a postcard). he must have gone "straight" to the booklet enclosed in search of some direction with regards to the matter. following in his footsteps, i found the cd booklet only "translates" polite snippets. bingo.

i didn't find translations of the "where did you hunt that 'duck' (the bride) from?" for example. lovely.
she tends to remain object, prize, deer, duck throughout.
aside from the often disturbing lyrics (what was i expecting, "Nawal Al-Saadawi -palestinian weddings on my mind-the definitive LP?") and the often disturbing beliefs (can you say DYKE one more time?) that inspired them, the music is true. sadly, i guess the lyrics are too.

(was i the right person to review this one in particular i ask you? after all, i could just pick up the phone and listen to my dad ranting on about how i should get married and it would be a lot shorter than listening to this album -- or maybe not -- and then reviewing it for you, but then i would miss all the pretty voices of these palestinian women and men (albeit propaganda for the patriarchy), wouldn't i? hmm...after serious deliberation and weighing of these two options... nope... no can do... i'll take the latter, won't i? you?)

Rasha, Sudaniyat

2. rasha, "sudaniyat"

hard to pry out of the CD player.
that's what it says on the back cover.
indeed.
fragrant.
a Sudanese album as sweet as a summer night.
lots of east african influence rather than mediterranean here.

at 26, rasha is smooth, sensual and multitalented (on this album she is lead vocals, derbukkas, tambourine, palmas as well as some backing vocals... wallah! not bad, huh?... or maybe they just didn't have a budget...)

wedding songs, sufi meditations and an extremely precious sudanese lullaby.
the album resounds with funky (as in funky, not as in Funk-y) music as well as Rasha's bold exclamations of love and sexual desire.
an impressive and proud woman.
she is assured yet vulnerable.
a great album.
we like .

"i have grieved seven years already because of you.
i have suffered agony in these years.
i contemplated much and found nothing."

you tell him girl.
talk to the wrist.

"your forehead is like stars in pure darkness,
your body rubbed with perfume.
if the soft breeze stopped at your side,
the mountain would tremble,
the breathing would get excited.
oh god, you are my light,
the light of time."

"like a branch quivering and shaking.
oh god, my own fire"

Rasha.
go.
get it.


space image

notes about "zaghareed"

1. hareeseh is a mediterranean dessert, a semolina cake drenched in sweet syrup. back
2. itsharrafna: proud to acknowledge that one -- said in irony here back
3. send a postcard: an american joke, when someone doesn't get something; it means they are watching the words literally fly over their head. back

notes about "sudaniyat"

1. wallah!: 'god' - used here like 'wow' back
2. talk to the wrist: iglib wijhak back



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