Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan, "Beirut"

Yasmine's self-title album is scheduled to drop, in France, in a couple of days. (One can download it via iTunes France. Yasmine belonged to the great Lebanese band Soap Kills from 1997-2005 (though the band is not officially dead) and put out the album Arabology as YAS with Mirwais Ahmadzaï in 2009. This song, "Beirut," is from the new album. It's very sweet, evokes the beautiful Beirut of the good old days, ruined, or at least under threat, from economic crises and a spirit of materialism. The video posted on youtube comes with the Arabic lyrics and an English translation. Love it!


شرب العرق
 شرب العرق
 لعب الورق
 خيل السبق
 صيد الحمام
 رسمال بيروت

 لبس الغوى
 شم الهوى
 اكل الهوى
 شاغل عقول
 سكان بيروت

 زهرة من غير أوانها
محلاها ومحلا زمانها
 يا حينها وياضيعانها

 ما في عمل
 ما في امل
 برك الجمل
 ركب النحس
 تجار بيروت

كتر البطر
 هالك بيروت

Arak drinkin'

Card playin'
Racehorse cheerin'

Pigeon huntin'

The essence of Beirut

Seduction crowd

Cruisin' around
Foolin' about

Tis' all there is on the minds
Of the citizens of Beirut


A flower off its terrain

Oh her beauty, her good old days


That dire end, all a waste


All unemployed
Ruined and rusted
Jinxed and accursed
Those dealers of Beirut

Oh the Strutting
That fancy livin'
Excess of splurging
Exploded vanity
Smothering Beirut

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Algerian music archive: Dounia Music

Douniamusic is your gateway to a number of varieties of Algerian music: chaabi, rap, rai, Kabyle, Andalusian, etc. It's not for downloading, just for listening, but there is a lot there. The rai archive doesn't have much of the older stuff, whereas the chaabi does. But I've only just started exploring. Enjoy.

Days of Rage: Dance Music from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon

I found this via Weirdo Records, which offers lots of interesting and wacky recordings from the Middle East that it is often difficult to find via other sources. I very much like this mix of mostly debke music from the Mashriq. The CD is available from Weirdo for 5 dollars only. You can listen to a long segment here. Highly recommended. I only wish there was some information on the artists.