Monday, May 31, 2010

From Rafah…With a Rapper

On my last failed attempt to leave Gaza through Rafah, I met a lot of interesting travelers. When all you have is time waiting to leave Gaza, I usually start conversing with others to make new bonds. One of those travelers was a young man who looked like a Chicago bound hip-hop star. I was not sure what to make of him until a fellow traveler told me this guy is a rapper. The traveler was making a notice of the rapper’s funky hair and how it does not agree with him. I laughed but since I am interested in Arabic rap and Palestinian rap in particular I went to talk to the rapper.

I approach the young man and ask him about his destination he tells me to Egypt to attend school there. I tell him I am headed to the States and then ask him if he was a singer, he says yes. And I learn his a member of a Palestinian rap group called BL@cK Un!T BAnD, we start talking about his band and their songs. We spoke of DAM, the infamous Palestinian rap group as well as PR and the movie “Sling Shot Hip-Hop” He has a great background on Arab rappers—most of them he has already collaborate with.

The rapper complains of the hardship they face not being able to travel to perform and do publicity. He has just performed for an event in Gaza with the anti-war group Code Pink. Mohammed Wafy is his name and I got to listen to some of their tracks and I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard.

When Mohammed learned of my interest and since we had plenty of time to kill he brought out his laptop and I asked him to give me some of his songs and his contact information, he was kind enough to do that.
The one song that captured my attention and me heart is also their latest collaboration with other Palestinian rappers to bring attention to the misery of life in
Gaza, the song is simply titled “GAZA Menha E7na” From Gaza we are, Look for it among other songs on their myspace page.

Mohammed is hoping to do more work and collaborate with other rappers which he will be able to do as now he is on his way to Egypt where his freedom of movement would be better. To listen or contact BL@cK Un!T BAnD, here is their information

Their official myspace site ..

and facebook page :

P.S. Mohammed was able to leave Gaza because of his Egyptian passport, I was among 150 travelers asked to return home

11 Types of People You Meet in Hookah Loungesl

1. The Kid From Dearborn
If we label him as obnoxious, he may sue us for defamation, since suing people his full-time job. Then, he’ll sue the shisha place for not doing it like they do in balad al-Dearborn, or Dearbornistan as the right-wingers call it.

The trouble with the kid from Dearborn is that he/she is never satisfied with anyone else preparing a Hookah for them, unless it is a non-Arab, then it is an opportunity to flaunt their Hookah credentials with a free lecture.

He will tell you about how the hookah places in Dearborn are better, with stadium-style seating, movie projection screens, and live performances by Dearborn’s version of George Wassouf (coke and all).

He’ll ask the servers if they offer carved pineapples or watermelons for the sheesha heads, or if they have the new bab ghanoush-flavored tobacco. Then, he’ll roll his eyes when they ask “what?”

Starbuzz is his brand of choice, bro. And he thinks self-starting charcoal is for chumps (he’s right).

2. The Curious White Chick
“Is that, like, a bong from India?” These girls are eager to experience new things and taste different cultures, which is why Arab men go for them, if you know what I mean. She does not have interest in the Middle East, but rather there are a lot of Arab guys where she grew up or went to school, so it is natural to develop a curiosity. Plus she thinks it will help her feel “ethnic.”

“Is this illegal?” and “Am I going to regret this?” are signature questions. She bugs you by insisting on using her own plastic protector tube, thereby messing up the flow. Get it over with and hand her the “double apple” flavor so she can go experiment with Thai food, kabbalah and lesbianism.

The presence of white chicks gives many Arab men a temporary feeling of having a safety net and false indication that we are the new blacks, the forbidden fruit white chicks use for revenge against daddy.

Giveaway sign: when Amr Diab starts playing, they get up and dance dirty with their girlfriends.

3. The Latino Hookah Preparer
They say immigrants do the work other Americans don’t want to do. In general, Americans don’t want to work. And Arab-Americans are the same.

Just as Latino labor is key to the service sector, in places where Arab immigration is scant, Latinos run the local hookah lounge. They took over preparing the sheesha and bringing you fresh coal to keep it like going like an Egyptian train.

While some might find interesting forms of cultural hybridity here, especially as the workers learn Arabic from the management, there are some negatives. First, they are probably poorly compensated since their status is likely not legal. And Arabs care less.

Second, tension comes with the few Arab customers who are out of things to be proud of. On more than one occasion, Arabs, like the Dearborn kid, lecture the underpaid employees on how to make a better hookah. Thus the employee develops a passive-aggressive approach that makes him/her debate between punching your face or smiling at it.

4. The Redneck
Although he feels a bit gay puffing on a phallic pipe, he’s thrilled to be behind enemy lines. He met Al, his one Arabic buddy, in world history class and now he is joining his new friend for a taste of the Orient.

Growing up in small town in the south comes with a lot of liabilities, like not knowing much about the world.

On 9-18, he was throwing eggs at a muhajibah, so he’s a bit shocked he ended up in the lounge. he should have listened to his uncle Todd who warned him about the liberal professors from his community college brainwashing him. Uncle Todd later mocks him for smoking the “hubbly bubbily.”

Surrounded by 10 other Arab men, it would be hard to decline the offer to smoke. This is a one-time experience, it won’t likely be repeated as Al makes less weird friends.

5. The FBI Informant

He’s the coolest, slickest guy in the lounge, the smoothest operator, and very outgoing. He’s also an FBI informant who gets a nice check from the government for the intel he picks up from the cafe — which is like none, except that he is great at telling the Feds what they want to hear. They think the “Oasis Hookah Palace” is the Tora Bora of Southern California.

He is commissioned to eavesdrop on all conversations and screen all patrons for possible threats, instead he just picks up names and details from the Hollywood terrorism flicks like ‘The Siege,’ ‘Body of Lies’ and ‘Syriana.’ He occasionally takes a picture of a few patrons with his cell phone as he pretends to be text messaging.

While the government’s money is decent, he is doing it in exchange for a reduced sentence on a tax fraud scheme he was into with his cousin.

You’ll know when you meet him because he’ll add you as a friend on Facebook within minutes of meeting you.

6. The Student Who Spent a Semester Morocco
Nearly every sentence begins, “In Morocco…” It could be set off
by the most trivial reminder. The waiter’s named “Mohammad,” and this type tells you about the King of Morocco.

Sure, he or she misses kicking back and doing nothing all day except talking while sipping mint tea and smoking grape-flavored argeelah. And they are comforted by the fact that they won’t wake up with the runs this time.

To show off his hookah skills, he brings his date there, thinking this is America, the same creepy taboos overseas won’t apply. To his surprise, for every woman, including his date, there is probably more than 10 horny dudes leering at her through the clouds of smoke.

7. The Bored and Boring Middle-Aged Guy
This is the older Arab man who was married in the old country and is now divorced with not much to do but smoke his Hookah and fly solo. Or he may be married, but no one has ever seen the wife as proof. And apparently he only eats hummous.

This guy has his own official corner. It’s like Mustafa’s freaking office. He sits there all day every day. He checks out everyone walking into the lounge and stares at them, only taking occasional breaks to pee, talk really loudly on his cell phone, get charcoal himself, or play tarneeb or backgammon with other regulars.

He is not nostalgic for the bad old days, but the present really sucks. The only thing going for him is that he has as much authority as the hookah preparers do in his smoky little kingdom.

8. The Sheesha Tyrant
He is the cousin of the owner. It’s like being the son of the President/King/Col. Qaddafi in the Arab world. In other words, his familial link entitles him to act like he owns the place, so he bosses the staff and picks fights with the guys from the Gulf who treat the place like they could buy it (they could).

His cousin who owns the place hates this guy, but cannot kick him out because he owes his Dad money and may be interested in marrying his sister. He, of course, recognizes the power imbalance. So after he closes up the gas station, he brings all his loser buddies to smoke their favorite Hookah flavor and, if feeling naughty, have a non-alcoholic beer, play a round of obnoxious tarneeb, and get into a fight with other customers.

He is the Latino Hookah Preparer’s worst nightmare (behind immigration raids and Lou Dobbs).

9. The Hookah Etiquette Nazi
You know yourself. More often than not you hail from Lebanon where everything has to be done just right, from shawarma to political assassinations.

So when a Hookah comrade hands you the wrong end of the hookah you get offended and insist that they hand it to you the proper way so as not to make it look your comrade is telling you to screw yourself. I am sorry, I do not get this one, I am a Palestinian, and we are used to getting screwed by our friends.

Warning: If the sheesha is dirty, not airtight, there are too many holes in the tin foil, or the tobacco is packed too tight, a psychodrama ensues, followed by the single greatest Lebanese contribution to the Arab world: a rich sequence of highly decorative and colorful cursing (at and about the sheesha, the preparer, and his family, particularly his female relatives).

You can spot this guy easily. He’s the one who removes the head and blows the dust and smoke through the holes in the tin foil after it has been burning a while. They also blow the most perfect rings, sometimes followed by a smoke arrow through the middle then their name in Arabic.

10. The African American Who Likes Them Pillows

“I gotta get me one of these.” Like African-Americans, Arabs can be ghettofabulous with our furniture and decor. So the sheesha lounge can feel like home.

Many African-Americans don’t know that most Arabs live in Africa (most Arabs don’t know that either). Most don’t care. What they do care about is if you can smoke marijuana through the sheesha. You can. But it is less efficient than the traditional ways. Non-blacks, sharing that tidbit can win you street cred.

I hear so many African-Americans mention Egypt and Morocco as key places they want to travel. You never meet a black guy who wants to visit Syria for some reason, and definitely not Iraq.

The non-ratty hookah lounges provide a nice relaxing environment—the Arabic pillows at these lounges prove it. Puffing on a water pipe may be relaxing, but to my black friends, do not rest your feet on the soft cushion. It is a sign of disrespect. It’s the Arab equivalent of messing with a black guy’s radio (I learned so much from ‘Rush Hour’).

Another word of advice: Drop couple of non-offensive Arabic words, you will probably get a complimentary tea.

11. The Overdressed Gulfie Kids

The waiters love them for their generous tips, but unfortunately this sentiment is not shared with the rest of the lounge’s patrons. They hit on anything that moves, whether or not they are there with someone else.

They are dressed in the best brands, but that does not mean they necessarily have style. And they show off the Beamer in the parking lot, often sitting around the car waiting for girls to walk by.

No matter how old they get, they always act like teenagers on a prom date, or better yet, the ones who go without a date.

They cannot outsmoke the Dearborn kid, but are pretty hard core smokers. The upside? They always know what they want. The downside? They always fight over who gets to flip the bill.

Syrian Artists: Decades of Syrian Music

Here is a list of Arab singers who hail from Syria, the artists on the list are the pride of Syria and the rest of the Arab world. Syrian artists are known to be the last man/woman standing in preserving the art of Arab Tarab–traditional Arabic music style. There are also few Syrian artist who are innovate in their musical styles. Just a note that I got a lot of help assembling this list from Wikipedia.

Syrian Voices that Your Dad and His Mom Appreciate

Sabah Fakhri
The godfather of Syrian music, his style is his own and he has claimed the throne for the Muwashahat and the Koodood for the past 50 years. Fakhri, originally from Aleppo, Syria is best known for his amazingly powerful voice. No one can hold a note longer than he can. He is the true master of Arab Tarab. Sabah studied music in both Syria and Egypt, and has performed in all the Arab capitals. Fakhri is also one of the very few Arabic singers to receive widespread popularity and to perform concerts worldwide (including Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia). His name is kept in the infamy when he sang for straight 10 hours name in Caracas, only to go on to hold the world record. He is a Syrian national treasure and an Arab voice that will never go silent. On a less serious note, the man is perfect for concerts attended by zombies, because the more drinks you have, the better his songs and the more you can enjoy siting on your seat for hours.

Watch Sabah at his best

Farid Al-Atrash
Perhaps the most famous Syrian composer, singer and oud player, Farid is a Druze who left Syria fleeing the French harassment of his family and settled on Cairo to be his final home. He’s appeared in huge blockbuster movies where he also performed some of his best songs. He credits his mom’s skills in playing the Oud with own his passion for music for his success. Farid had a colorful music career. When not singing his own songs, Farid composed a colorful arrangement of songs and became a highly regarded composer, singer and instrumentalist. His music was unique since it exhibited some western musical influence, but he always stayed true to his Arab roots and principles. In addition to singing about love, he delivered patriotic songs that inspired millions of Arabs. For me, the one thing I know Farid for is his mellow style and occasional deep sound. Staying true to Arab music, Farid would always bust a mawal—a short improvising of Arabic poetry.

Farid, the composer at his best

Farid’s little sister who started her career in Syria and Lebanon and later moved to Egypt, Asmahan was born on a ship heading between Lebanon and Greece. The Golden Voice, she is known for her beautiful and sweet lyrics and her role in various Egyptian movies. She also got herself entangled with spy allegations and a controversial life. Like her brother Farid, at the age of sixteen, Asmahan was sought after by a record company to record her first album which featured her first song: Ya Nar Fouadi. She had the biggest names in music as her mentors or pygmalions: Farid Ghosn, Daoud Hosni, Mohammad El Qasabji and Zakaria Ahmad who gave her all the vocal training and music lessons she would ever need. If record deals weren’t enough, she was also asked to sing in the aristocratic family celebrations. She also started singing at night clubs alongside her brother Farid. Asmhan has one of the richest personal stories that ever existed in the Arab world. She ended up drowning in a river when her taxi fell into the river, killing Asmahan and her friend. Asmahan, an Arab soap opera chronicled her life–needless to say there were a number of lawsuits involved.

Watch Asmahan Transcend

Syrian Legends that We Celebrate

Mayada El Hennawy
The one Syrian voice that both your parents and I appreciate, this Syrian diva worked with extremely famous Egyptian composers who had previously worked with Om Kalthoom and Abdel Halim. Girl’s still busting out hits till this day. Legendary Arab composers like Baligh Hamdi, Ryad Sonbaty, Mohamed El Mouji, Mohamed Soltan and Helmi Bakr have all collaborated with her. Mayada reached the peak of her fame in the 1980’s thanks to a soulful, powerful and flexible voice. Mayada’s voice is one pure Shamee voice that transcends Arabic lyrics to the fusion of Egyptians, Syrian and Turkish melodies. Born in Aleppo in 1959, Mayada El Hanawi’s hit songs are: “Ana Baacha’ak,” “Habbina w Ithabbina,” “Ana Mokhlisalak,” and “Kan Ya Makan.” I have been seeing more of her lately in the Arab media scene and she is notorious for picking fights with Arab singers who do not give her respect.

Watch Mayada
Mayada 2

Asala Nasri
Asala was born in Damascus, to to revered Syrian composer and singer Mostafa Nasri. Asala was daddy’s little girl, who was taught how to truly love music. Her infatuation with music entertained her through her childhood. Asala’s commercial musical career debuted in 1991 with “Law Ta’rafou” (Arabic: لو تعرفو). The new album had 4 songs in the oriental operatic Tarab style. The album was an instant hit with heartbreaking songs like “Ya Sabra Yana” and “Samehtak Ketir.” She quickly
ensured a strong presence in the Arabic music scene. Asala continues to make songs that appeal to a pretty broad range of audiences in the Gulf, Egypt, the Sham and the Magreb. She is the most bankable Arab star who never shies away from a cause or a public feud for that matter. It was reported that her husband cheated on her, she dumped his ass and married Egyptian music producer Tarik Al-Arian where they both had the honor of having the first French kiss on live TV. What I like about Asala is her skills in staying relevant with fresh lyrics and solid music.

Watch Asala delivers a goldie
Asala Does the Gulf

George Wassouf
Singing at a very young at the age of 10 in his hometown Kafroun on different occasions was the easy part; continuing to rock and to have a growing fan base is priceless. Like most good Syrian artists, you cannot make it big till you “Go West!” He soon packed his bags and moved to Lebanon where he began his music career and quickly infused his popularity. It was at the age of 16 when he became known as “Sultan El-Tarab” when international actor Omar Sharif granted him he title. A few of his first songs that brought him to fame include “Hawa Sultan,” “Rohi ya Nesmah,” “Helif el-Amar,” and “Law Naweit.” Those songs still sound as crisp and soothing as ever before. George Wassouf has produced more than 30 albums and has performed concerts all around the world. The one artists the Arab PhDs, MDs and cabbie drivers agree on is this man. There is no shortage of Arab singers who attempt to copy his style and replicate his magical voice. He is not the best looking Arab singer and when combined with his hatred of acting, makes for too short the number of music videos under his belt. One of his recent successful albums was released in 2002 (“Salaf wi Dein”) which made a huge success in both the Arab world and abroad. He just released a new album last week titled “Allah Kareem.” Youtube is loaded with videos of George doing and saying all sort of wacky things, he was recently busted in Sweden on drug charges–he claims he is innocent.

Listen to the song, but here is the video
This is George being George

Syrian Artists You and Your Little Sister Like

Shady Aswad
Originally from Edlib region, Shady he is currently living in Damascus . . . with his parents! According to his personal website, Shady’s father had a party for Shady success in primary school only to discover that his son had a great voice and loved to sing. Shady didn’t sing until he was 18 when he enrolled in the Syrian Song Festival with his own song (Galbteni). He got the admiration and encouragement from everyone, since he was the youngest contestant of them all. He took a part in Superstar (Arab American Idol) and earned the respect and support both both the judges and fans which gave him an instant spoonful of success. Perhaps what distinguishes Shadi from other singers is his sensitive spirit, his personal ambitions and his Syrian stubbornness.

Watch Shady at his best

Noura Rahal
Noura started in 2001 with her first two singles: “Salemly ‘A Albak” (Give me your heart) and “Shoflak Hall” (Find a solution) which weren’t immediate hits. After wading through the an obvious lack of stardom, she received her shot at glory in 2006 when she released her breakthrough single entitled: “Kollo 3adi” (It’s the same) an Egyptian song which brought her instant success and fame. Noura enjoyed more than four months of success, then produced a full album: “Denyeti Ahla” (My world is prettiest). The lead song of the album entitled: “La Tekhteber Sabri” (Don’t test my patience) was very successful and climbed the charts so fast, making it one of the highest-selling albums of the year. In addition to singing, Noura Rahal also stared in the Syrian series “Ahl Algrarm” and in “Kowm Alhajar.”

Watch Noura

Wadih Mrad
Although Wedih started his music career much earlier in life, his fame did not start until he moved to Beirut where the doors of fame were wide open. He struggled for a year and a half in Beirut, not finding success, but finally, Wadih signed a contract with a Lebanese radio station and agreed that they would manage his business. Wadih started singing in night clubs and soon, the radio station produced his album of seven songs that included the single: “Helweh el Denyeh” that lead him to the top the charts. The album was entitled “Saket.” In Christmas 2003, Wadih came to the U.S. where he had a tour in Los Angeles, Jersey, Detroit, and Boston. The concerts were well attended. Fans in the States were singing along. However, Wadih continues to make music, hoping to make a comeback to the rich Arabic music scene. “La Tan’hani” The one song that Wadih broke into the Arabic music scene back in 2000 was so successful that replicating that success might be a tough task.

Watch Wadih at his best

The Kingmaker
The One Man Team: Nizar Qabbani
“The Poet of Women” as he has been called, began writing poetry wh
en he was 16 years old. At his own expense, Qabbani published his first book of poems, entitled “The Brunette Told Me” as he was attending law school at University of Syria. Over the course of a half-century, Qabbani wrote 34 other books of poetry. Younger Arab got to know the legendary poet though the Iraqi singer, Kazim Al Sahir who is considered by some to be the greatest living Arab musician, might not have been where he is if it had not been for his plethora of songs written by Nizar Qabbani. The Arab world is better off because of his style, the Arabic language is far richer for his influence, and the Arab lover is far more sincere because of Qabbani’s imagery. Not only was Qabbani a tier one poet, he was also a top Syrian diplomat dispatched to Bruit, Istanbul, London and China. A group of the Arab world’s most respected Arab stars have sung his words, including Abelhalim, Majda El Roumi, Latifa and off course Kazim Al Sahir, all of whom immortalized Nizar’s poems in our hearts and lives.

Nizar Poetry Reading

Syrian Mixed Bag

Majd Al Kassem, used to be good, had couple of hits in the late 90s, now what?
Shada Barmada the Syrian Lizzie McGuire
Fayza Ahmad for mom’s sakes
Nour Mihna, the man can sing, he is a cross between George Wassouf and Sabah Fakhri

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bizarre Duos: Nancy and K’naan “Wave their Flags” to Promote the World Cup

Bizarre Duos: Nancy and K’naan “Wave their Flags” to Promote the World Cup

By Maytha

In the vein of such musical pairings as Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney in “Say, Say, Say”…and a Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney in “Ebony and Ivory,” this video feels like a bizarre crossings of genres and demographic audiences.

K’naan opens the video rapping as an awkward dance routine-leading, botched up plastic surgery mess Nancy Ajram is interspliced between footage of Arabs and Africans cheering for a Coca-Cola World Cup commercial music video. Why? i don’t understand…maybe some of you out there can shed some light:

Sketchy Arabic Music Videos, Oh Boy!

Like billions of people I enjoy a good song and love a good beat. A music video for a song that I happen to like is always a treat. In the past week, a number of new Arabic music videos have been released to be seen by all either on the small screen in an Arabic home or a computer monitor somewhere on Youtube. I give you a the latest troublesome music videos coming to us from Arabia, feel free to disagree with me, but for a reason or two I feel compelled to share those music videos with you.

Jad Choueiri – Ghaly / جاد شويري – غالي

The Lebanese music producer, singer, weirdo takes a page of Perez Hilton and drives in the back of a truck in the streets of Lebanon attempting to make wiping imaginary air windows cool again. I thought they guy will disappear after his most famous flop of a song Funky Arab went nowhere. To his credit Jad makes very cool logos, I doubt however that those shades will be popular anywhere anytime soon.

Khaled Selim – Ad’y Aleik / خالد سليم – أدعي عليك

Khaled Selim, the hard working and hard partying Arab singer made a great comeback album that was a hit with his fans and even his loudest critics. Singing a number of awesome Arabic song, a pleasant song in Spanish another hit song in English “Desert Queen”. When it came to making a music video, Khaled did well by not hiring a number of naked ladies to make him look like a turd. He wanted to make a song where he is in the center. When I first reviewed the music video, I was not sure what o make of it, but then I saw it again and seeing Khaled touching himself and acting like he is about to enter the ring to punch Mr. T in the face confused me. I really like the song, it is one of my favorite summer songs so far, I and a number of female bloggers for Kabobfest feel uneasy about it.

Sandy – Ebn Garetna / ساندي – إبن جارتنا

So you know those dirty old men who have something for little girls? Here is a song that was made to make them feel better. The dazzling Egyptians beauty Sandy is not stranger to making music videos with skimpy outfits. What is sup with that Three scope Ice cream skewers Sandy? The director seems to have Sandy’s permission to flaunt her body to the horny Middle Eastern man with an internet connection. Maybe Sandy is trying to get people to get a faster internet speed so that can have a better viewing experience. Also if you have a minute read the viewers comments. Sandy’s look and colors reminds me of those crazy Japaneses cartoons, I hope she makes it big there.

MoHammED IsKanDaR – JeMhourYet AlbY محمد اسكندر جمهورية قلبي

Lebanon has seen relatively four peaceful years now, but this singer wanted to change that.A song that many Lebanese feminists felt was degrading to women. The song is really cool and it seems to be on its way to be this Summer’s hottest song. The singer’s son Faris, a popular lyricist wrote this song in which his dad sings to his wife urging her to quit her job and allow him to pamper her at home. He also says your job is my heart, my feelings and my love…it’s enough you are the President of the Republic of My Heart. I can see some women getting worked up about this song, because talk is cheap. To his credit the singer states his respect for women rights and he acknowledges their college degrees. Below is a video of the rallies in Lebanon asking to ban this song.

Here is a protest in Lebanon by feminists and dudes enraged by this song…not all women hate the song…some say it’s catchy and they have enjoyed it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Elissa Gives Some Fans a Treat

Elissa, the Lebanese Diva and every Arab man's dream girl has just performed a concert in Morocco for more than 100,000 screaming fans.

Here is a clip with her new hit song "Masdooma" meaning shocked. the song is a sweat melody of a lover criticizing their loves one for broadcasting her shortcoming to others. I mean this week Elissa has also won the World Music Award for the third time...I think she deserved it for a nother amazing album she released in late December 2009. Here is the clip from her concert in Mawazeen, Morocco. Cannot wait to see the new music video she has just finished filming this month.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One of The Best Arabic Movies!

rarely, do I get excited about an Arabic movie, but this is the one to get excited about. ElFaraH "The Wedding" is an Egyptian drama that takes place in one of those poor areas, the movie chronicle the life of a number of average people and their problems, and at the very end you see the whole picture. A guy wants to hold a fake wedding so he can collect gifts from the area...he throws a big bash, hires a comedian, a dancer, party planner and someone to serve liquor, do not forget the fake bride that he hired to act so. Something happens and thing get messy, but this is one solid Arabic movie not to be missed. I was impressed by the quality of the witting, the acting and the set.

Although the movie played in the summer of 2009, it did not make millions of dollars, but you can guarantee that this movie will be sought after by many viewers who appreciate a good story. Since this is a music blog, there are a number of good songs in this movie and Mai Kassab, the young Egyptian singer takes an acting role, although small, but pivotal.

I wish to see more Arabic movies like that....I already say a very similar move to this one in terms of art direction and character development. Kabeereeh was that movie.

Unlike most Arabic movies, this film does not rotate around one character, but rather treats a load of actors playing real people and all have their moments.

Music Video, Trash of Arabia

Egyptian singer, Hani Alhabid (الهبدهانى) released a new racy music video, titled howa kida (هو كدة), the song is nothing short of silly. However, the music video wins the golden medal in the sleaziest Arabic music video of the year. It’s surely offensive that the music video uses women as props by further objectifying them. What’s more offensive is how the music video furthers the proof that human beings like the artist—for lack of a better word are also descendant of donkeys—not just monkeys. Whatever evolution done to make us adapt better, this music video is undoing all that by reversing the human race back to apes. Although the song uses common Egyptian folksy beat and popular instruments, the video utilizes a technique developed by small time West Coast rappers, cram as many naked females as the camera shot can accommodate.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the costs of producing this crappy music video were underwritten by plastic surgeon who gives away free bikinis with every set of you know what. Just As I thought Arabic music videos have finally evolved comes this turd to kill my buzz. Also can you make the Indian tune artificially incorporated in this sham of a song? This music video makes me want to throw up.

Share and Enjoy:

Kathim AlSahir & Milhim Zeen Light Up The Night

I am a big fan of these two singers who pretty much represent two earas. Kathim who has been entertaining his fans since the 80s has also put a great album summer of 2009, his album was as good as it gets for his fans and the curious individuals. Melhim Zeen, the Lebanese young star has come to the scenes in early 2004 through Super Star, the Arab version of American idol. While he was runner up, his music is supreme. Last summer his hit song "3alawah" dominated the Arab airwaves and was played in every single happy occasion in all Arab countries. Early this year Melhim released a song about being betrayed by a friend of his who stole his loved one. The song was a success.

Here is a performance video and interview from
Two great Arab singers from two different generations meet and perform on a popular Arab TV show where singers and entertainers get interviewed and answer questions . the artists are also expected to put on a good show. This particular episode was a treat to the people who enjoy good music , the kind where you can only listen....not watch naked people flying from your screen. , تاراتاتا 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Meet The Arabian Miley Cyrus

OK, I do not really know what Miley Cyrus has been up to, I cannot name a song of hers, or a tell you the name of one of her movies, the ones American high school girls obsesses about.

but I can tell you how she looks like...and I found her Arabic Look Alike....

All the way from Egypt comes Soma, the raising Egyptian starlet that enjoys big celebrity status in Egypt and few others outside of Egypt recognize her. She has a good voice, the kind that gives you sorrow upon being heart broken. Soma has managed to steer away from becoming a star withing Egypt...that's pretty much siniging at weddings and living in a nice place. Soma wants more of her celebrity and that's why her upcoming album will try to accomplish. Dah Habiby, "This is my loved one" sounds generic I know, but a sad song in which someone comes in defense of a loved one is hard to come by.

She does look a lot like Miley, I like the song and wish Soma well!

Soma - Dah Habiby / سوما - ده حبيبي

The Sexual Harassment Arabic Music Video

Can an Arabic music video possibly have everything a stereotypical male needs while breaking so many laws? Yes, it can!

This new music video by newcomer Mostafa Mahfouz is in a league of its own. The artist delivers a great break-up song, and despite it’s a break-up song, it comes across more uplifting than bitter with a soulful voice and just the right mixture of sadness and wisdom that hits all the right notes. But just because I want to hear more of him, doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to see more of him. The storyline for the music video is fairly simple: you’re a young Arab man running a gas station (imagine that) without much business and your employees are getting restless and demanding to get paid.

Oh, and did I mention that your girlfriend has just pulled up in her new convertible and is also asking “Where’s the dough, Habibi”? It also doesn’t help that you have a dirty, sweaty scruffy-looking guy with a gut working for you on the side of the road, holding up a sign that says: Buy one get one free! Sounds like you are caught between a rock and a fat place.

But no need to worry: according to this music video you have a solution. Go to a modeling agency, discriminate against the Indian looking models and go for the exotic Arab-Russian combo models. Take the ladies back to your gas station, have one of them wear a pair of “shorts” and assign her to the “hold the poster on the side of the street” post and watch the guys just start rolling in! You then take the rest of your girls and have them dance around the cars, the bikes, the customers and even yourself in a more than seductive manner.

Word in the form of text messages will then start to circulate about the freak show and the babes who are putting on the expo at the gas station. Congratulations! Now you’ve gone viral, because scantily clad women who dance mean more customers, more random dudes in business suites dancing in their cars, and more money in your pocket!

And, if your girlfriend comes back, you can make her jealous by all those hot babes dancing around you. Of course, you will also get to see some cool cars and badass Hell’s Angels types, but hey, it’s all part of the job as the Pimp boss that you literally are. I’m sure that somewhere a guy who was promised 72 virgins is sitting in a dark corner envious of Mahfouz and his entourage of gorgeous women. No, this music video was not released in 1920; this clip is brand spanking new.

Here’s why the music video is problematic: in approximately four minutes, the music video embarks on a parade of illegal workplace practices like ethnic and weight discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, employee safety concerns, business domestic disturbance, defamation, disturbing the peace, human trafficking, workers compensation issues, car assault, racketeering, artificial chest hair exposure . . . is there anything else I might have missed?

Also, please pay special attention to the break dancer and the man jumping from a convertible car wearing a hot pair of sneakers and the top-of-the-line phones found in this and many parts of the Arab world.

[Tarboush Tip: Kellee, Carlos, Your Mom]

Ms. Johanson Step Aside Meet a New Starlet

Ms. Johanson Step Aside Meet a New Starlet

Last week, American actress turned singer Scarlet Johanson released a new album titled “Anywhere I Lay My Head”. On the other side of the world,

Somaia El Khashab

Egyptian actress turned singer Somaia El Khashab just released a new hit song “3ayzak Keda” عايزاك كدة, just in time for the summer and its crazy parties. The new song is actually pure fun with a twisty and a compelling story. The song’s strength shows in the fresh and authentic lyrics, the music does the job, although later in the song you get to hear a traditional musical instrument. Somaia who in the past made headlines since the early days of her career where she shared the screen with Adel Imam, the Egyptian Funny man. Somaia actually had couple of racy scenes that got mid aged Arab men with nothing to do a cause to be angry about. Here are few of her provocative scenes (Scene 1, Scene 2, Scene 3)

She has also been known as the go to starlet if you want nudity in your film and Somaia has been more than generous in showing some skin. Well, I think this song will put her past behind her and I believe with this music video the starlet has a new promising career. But the moment I watched the video and listened to the song, I was pleased with her performance, her voice and her grace. We just never know, her song might be the best Arabic summer song, a hit song coming from an actress is almost unheard of.

As far as the video clip goes, it was filmed in Lebanon, the go to place for talents, and dazzling looks. The music video shatters two myths about the Middle East. The first is that the Middle East does not have good looking people who happen to be fit. The second there is a water shortage in the area, as clear from the video, there is plenty of water to splash your buddies with. I like the editing and the director’s vision in keeping viewers wanting to see a little bit more without cheapening the video. And of course being an actress, you can see Somaia happy and enjoying life without trying too hard to act.

Finally, the great thing about the song is its fast pace that gets you fired up and yet lyrics that speak to you and to your senses. In other word, you could both jog listening to it while others can get their emotional dose chasing butterflies. I might end up being in the minority, but I now I want to hear more of Somaia El Khashab.

Arabic Music Video Shows Mexico Some Love

Here is a recent music video by Egyptian rising star Mahmoud el 3esely (محمود العسيلى) who just released a new album, the album was accompanied by this music video. “Tool Ma Inti Ganby” is pretty catchy song. Mahmoud manged to make a good song and uses music that defies the long Arabic pop tradition of making mediocre Karaoke music. This music video has many themes but it starts with the dude being bored and his girl reading some fashion magazine, as time passes by he persuades her to embark in a journey. The Journey takes them into many scenic places including exotic waterfalls, mysterious Arabian desert, Southern Egyptian villages and Mexican historical neighborhood. The video is unique because it was released 10 days prior to the spread of the Mexican linked swine flu pandemic. “Tool Ma Inti Ganby”, to my knowledge is the first Arabic music video to feature a Mexican theme, even a crew of Mexican mariachis graces the music video. This serves as a reminder of yet another stereotypical defense of the Mexican Nation. The video comes to us from Egypt, the one country that authorized the slaughter of 300,000 swine. The Mexican theme shows up at 2:40

P.S. I think Mahmoud’s choppy looks were only made worse by the gorgeous but malnourished model.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

18 Signs of an Arabic Dance Party

18 Signs of an Arabic Dance Party

saddamdanceADC will be having its annual convention this weekend. When I think of the ADC convention, I think of all the great speakers. I also remember their dance parties where many young and old Arabs flaunt their moves and get their groove on, often in hope of finding a mate. I reflected back on those dance parties and other dance parties that involve a substantial number of dancing Arabs. There are many signs you are at an Arabic dance party. From the field research I conducted, I discovered the 18 essential markers that scream “Arabic Dance party”:

1. The first guy to volunteer to start up the dance is a middle-aged, mustached, bald man wearing a Hawaiian shirt. I do not care where you are or whether it is a wedding or a social mixer. This random bald guy will mysteriously show up and jumpstart your party.

bdphoto2. Arabs like foreign objects. Swords, daggers, sticks, canes and candles are all items that make a guest appearance at Arabic dance parties. Old, young, male or female, they will pick up their prop and swing it at your dance. Join in at your own risk and watch your head.

3. Kaffya may symbolize the resistance and struggle of a people, but on the dance floor no one resists the idea of wrapping that colorful scarf around their waist or head to improve your dance floors’ reputation. Like we just got back from a Lebanon rally, let’s put those scarves to good use. I am sure wanting attention has nothing to do with utilizing those scarves.

bhangra-dance-party14. Arabs seldom dance as couples; it is mainly a solo act or with a friend. If a guy dances passionately with a girl, she is his first cousin; if they are really intimate and into it, then they are siblings. But not to panic, we’re not judging.

5. Arabic dances are more democratic—everyone is welcome to dance. The fatter you are the, sexier your moves will look. Tall and small, young and old, straight or not they can also look good moving those hips—and as we know hips do not lie. Unlike other dances, everyone is equal.

newnagi6. The Lebanese might not have many things to unite them, epically in politics, but nothing brings them all together holding hands and acting in a unified manner as debka ring. When the speakers blast “al Tanoura” song or whatever Fares Karam is singing these days, the Lebanese—and I mean all Lebanese—will come knocking with a case of happy feet. No one can keep up with them then.

7. The DJ has an advanced graduate degree in social work to compensate for his insecurities of being looked down upon by the unsatisfied older and younger Arabs whom he sends away without playing their favorite Nancy Ajram song.

old-style-phd-logo8. Arab guys at the dance floor have only two moves. The first is the hand twist, and the second is the wandering finger. Sorry dudes, but the ladies got the best moves. Any attempt to match their moves you risk being called names (Ask for my emergency landing move.)

9. Arabs must have invented outsourcing; you could have 50 Arab girls in one room, but the only dancer who has her dance outfit on is a white girl from Cleveland that speaks no Arabic, but has a weird vintage Arabic name. Unfortunately most Arab women are in a handicap situation; dance or not dance is a lose-lose situation.

dabke310. If you are a girl on the dance floor and guy tries to put money in your pocket then you are trying too hard, step it down a bit. I think men from the Gulf and Morocco often make that mistake. If you are a guy and another guy gives you money, could it be because you are dressed like a pimp?

11. It’s a safe rule: the hairier the Arab dude, the better dancer he is — underlying the laws of aerodynamics. Their dancing skills are proportional to the density of the hair on their chests. It’s only natural you work with what you have; since undewear modeling is out, dancing is the next natural move.

08_08_club_lazeez_12_lrg12. Getting Arab men to dance is like asking them to donate a kidney—they want to help, but are unsure how goofy the idea seems. Arabs are very self conscious; more so than the Mormon kids I know.

13. By the end of the evening, the dance room will smell like a fusion of your favorite leather and wood fragrance and garlic-cured lamb. While on the subject for reasons unknown 3 out of 4 Arab males wear Hugo Boss!
14. With the exception of the fun-loving people of Lebanon, no two Arabs dance alike; everyone has a unique style and distinctive moves. So if you want to learn how to dance, ask only one person, but watch everyone else. Otherwise trying to find conformity in the Arabic dance floor is like herding cats.

15. Some guys at the dance parties will be overdressed (and I mean dressed in a manner that screams, “hey, I am late for the business fantazia2meeting!”). They dress and act like they’ve got something important to do when in fact they do not, and the only call they will get on their flashy phone is a call from their mom asking if they’ve met anyone special. Not with that attitude, they won’t!

16. The thinnest guys at the Arab parties are the players in the house. Their confidence in their looks and charm makes them overlook that fact that they are being complete jerks by being so damn cute. You might have to constantly remind them that this is not a strip club because they look at the women like they’re at one.

17. Arabs at a dance might not give the bartender a whole lot of business, but they sure love their Red Bull and Coke. slice_01A modified a snow cone stand will do, easy on the brain freeze Ahmad.

18. Despite everything they do, most Arab girls at dances are not lesbians, they just grind on each other and shake themselves on each other because they’re feeling frisky but the family and its spies are watching. Do not be surprised if you see all-girl dance circles—they are just being good Arab girls.

[Tarboush Tip: Maggie, Don, Ru]

Nobody Loves Brad Garrett

Nobody Loves Brad Garrett

Brad Garrett who is known for his sitcom work, most notably on Everybody Loves Raymondignited a new racial controversy yesterday when he dropped some racial slurs at a paparazzo during a heated argument in the middle of the street. His words proof that bizarre things happen in real life not just in sitcoms. In the video Garrett can be seen instructing a paparazzo to wear turbans. This is weird on so many level, for starter the paparazzo acts like an Arab, but what do turbans have to do with paparazzi, or Hollywood for that matter? It’s the celebrities that usually use such things to hide their identity. Try Michel Jackson in a woman dress

To watch the video Video
Nawar Shora, ADC’s director of Legal Affairs has already spoken on the matter in an interview, according to

Nawar W. Shora tells, “We’d be happy to reach out to Mr Garrett and his crew to help educate him about the Arab/Muslim/Sikh communities. Sinking down to racial and ethnic slurs is very disappointing and highlights the need for a greater understanding.
“There’s so many stereotypes there and we’re at a time and place now where we should be past that.”

Everybody may love Raymond, but Brad Garrett gets none of the love, not with this video.

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FuNkY Arab?

FuNkY Arab?

Jad Choueiri, the Lebanese singer, dancer and music video director is back! This time he no longer intends to pollute the Arab music scene, this time the assault is global! Jad just released his much anticipated English song and music video in which he has collaborated with a number of American based talents.

I have heard about this song more than a year ago, and how Jad, the man standing behind the lunching of the career of a number of female artists of the like of Maria. Love him or hate him, he is a smart businessman (think Madonna) Jad has also become known for his logos; every artist he collaborates with gets a unique cool logo. His intention behind the song as he states is to make the Arabs cool again! To which I say, the road to hell is also paved with good intentions.

الأغنية بدأ بتوزيعها الموزع طوني بو خليل وساهم في تطويرها الموسيقي اللبناني-الأرمني غي مانوكيان ، الذي سبق وتعامل مع Wyclef Jean ، فساعد جاد شويري بالذهاب الى Platinum Records في نيويورك ، وعرفه على Logic من The Ear Candy Band (الذي قدم من نيويورك الى لبنان للظهور في الكليب) الذي استعمل صوته في مقاطع الأغنية.

The video was released yesterday, and to be honest I watched the music video, and not sure what to think. The song is in English, there is so much going on and plenty of iconography and stereotypical Arab linked images like camel, hookah, belly dancers and more colors than a Cher concert. It’s hard to figure out or make out what you are looking at, but judging form the comments on Youtube, things are not looking too good. You decide….

Arabic Music Videos: the Must See List

Arabic Music Videos: the Must See List

Here are four spanking new Arabic music videos that are blazing the Middle East. Enjoy!

1. The first music videos is for Lebanese Beauty, the female with stellar voice Carole Samaha featuring Mario Reyes from the Gypsy Kings. Filmed in some of Morocco’s old neighborhoods, the video has warm vintage feel. The guitar with Samaha’s voice is not to be missed. However, I wish I could say the same thing for her Spanish. The song is pretty simple, couple of Habibis thrown in with sweet melody and awesome cinematography.

2. Second music video is for Myriam Fares titled Betrouh, the Lebanese singer, entertainer, and recently actress releases yet another video in which she busts her dazzling dance moves combined with wonderful lyrics. The story of the music video is about a women who is asking her lover to leave (the title of the song) but not just that. In the video Myriam packs her lovers luggage; actually gets him in the car; drives him to his destination; drops off his luggage and leave without ever looking back. While the guy looks confused and miserable! Which what you would expect from a German Model in an Arabic Music Video. Joking aside the video has colorful cinematography and some compelling dance moves courtesy of Myriam.

3. The third music video is for Saber Rebai “Ya Aghla”. Saber the Tunisian super star comes back with a respectable album that will surely renew interest in his work. Ya Aghla is the music video we have here, and it starts with him telling his dance crew that the song has a new feel and he want them to come up with new dances for the music video. The entire music video is about Saber reviewing different dance moves in different sitting performed by the dance crew lead by a hottie–who Saber has a crush on. The song is in the Gulf dialect but before you dismiss it, listen to it. I really like the music when indeed it offers a new feel–a feel that only Saber can create with his natural good looks and charming talent. Off course Saber ends the music video taking the hottie with him on a boat ride–creepy I say.

4. The last music video we have is for Bushra, the Egyptian singer and actress. Titled Aman Aman, Bushra’s new album has yet to be released, but if this song is any indicator, I must say odds are good, but the goods are not odd. The music video has a Las Vegas style to it without being cheap. Bushra carries out the song with her sweet voice, pleasant energy, and her grace. Yes the red hair makes her look like a cross between Julian Moore and Lindsey Lohan. The dance moves are OK, but the colors, the lyrics, and the outfits do it for me. Her makeover–as obvious from the music video I say was money well spent and hope to see her perform in a concert live.