Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breaking News, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh

I love this song by Palestinian artist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. I wish I had time to make an effort to translate. But here are the first two lines:

إلى كل الجعانين من تشيلي للصين
هناك أكل مجاني في أرض فلسطين

To all the hungry, from Chile to China/There's free food in the land of Palestine.

Tamer describes himself as follows: "A composer of alternative Arabic music, and an Oud, Buzuq, and vocal performer. The lyrics in his compositions are in formal (fus-ha), Palestinian, or Egyptian dialect, written by himself or by Arab poets. The lyrics, in general, are not directed towards a specific theme; they express an array of human experience that is not defined by time or place: love, challenge, insecurity, boredom, thrill, frustration, etc."

To learn more about Tamer and to listen to more of his music, go to his Myspace page.

Egyptian Sha'bi for the revolution

Here's a quite wonderful song, in the sha'bi vein, from Mona Liza.

Somebody: please translate.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Khaled Mattawa on Libyan music

Khaled's article recently published by The Daily Beast, "Libya's Explosive Music Revolution," is really invaluable. Links to lots of important youtube clips of Libyan singers, like Nasser al-Mezdawi and Ahmed Fakroun.

The Nasser al-Mezdawi vid is for a song called "Shantat Safar." Please go here (to my blog Kanz al-Tuhaf) for a different, and I believe, the original version of the song, provided to me by a Libyan friend.

Libyan Merskawi Music: 'Abd al-Jalil 'Abd al-Qadir

Khaled Mattawa tells us that Merskawi music was one of two styles of urban music to emerge in Libya in the 1970s. Merskawi's "conventional lyrics and traditional rhythms along with the hard living of its singers made it the favored sound among the young and disaffected. Singing mainly at private gatherings, Merskawi performers commanded top dollar, as well as the commensurate supply of local moonshine and hashish, which were all happily provided to them even in conservative Libya."

Also courtesy Khaled, I learned of a fantastic Libyan Merskawi artist, 'Abd al-Jalil 'Abd al-Qadir. Please check him out. The performance reminds me a bit of Pakistani qawwali. It's partly the presence of the accordion, but it's also the relaxed feel, the spontaneity, the fact that the musicians are seated, and the length of the song. Below is part one of the song راد الله عليا. Please check out part two as well. It's really fabulous. Such a find!

R.I.P. Dimi Mint Abba

Dimi Mint Abba, Mauritania's best-known singer (at least abroad), passed away in early June. Read Robin Denselow's obit in The Guardian here. And check out this brilliant live performance. R.I.P.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mustapha Bakbou, live at Mawazine festival, 2011

Yes, this is 'festivalized' Gnawa music. But it's one of the grand masters (m'allims) of Gnawa, Mustapha Bakbou (a.k.a. Baqbou), in great form. It's not a jam with foreign musicians. The accompanying percussion and electric bass for the most part firm up rather than overshadow the beats of the qraqeb and Bakbou's guinbri playing. The filming is crisp and the sound is excellent. Highly recommended. Although going to a lila is better, always. But not usually possible.