Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arabic Music: 2009 so Far

Arabic Music: This Year so Far

I don’t know where to begin with Cyrine. On a scale of 1-to-10 (1 being your mother, 10 being your girlfriend) Cyrine scored a 100 and the same score goes for her voice. Cyrine is a Lebanese singer who has also starred in a number of recent motion pictures (Artsy ones in Lebanon and huge blockbusters in Egypt).

I like many things about Cyrine, but to be completely honest with you, I absolutely love her voice, her suave ability to hit each note of her music, and the way she finishes every word in her songs. It’s not just an energetically sexy voice, but it’s also that punch the comes with such a powerful high pitched voice. Let’s just say that when all the other Arab singers deliver a 2-D voice, Cyrine blows them out of the water with what I can only describe as the first Arab 3D voice. Her voice has a certain indescribable ring to it; I’m still trying to understand how she does it. I remember downloading her 8 track album “Layali ElHob” which was released in late December while I was on vacation. The music soothed my ears as if her tongue was in there. “Malish-Ella-Inta” is the one song I just can’t get enough of; I discover something new in it each time I listen to it. With “Layali ElHob” and “Oyoun-ElAsaliya,” Cyrine keeps it real by sticking to her Lebanese roots with these two very classy songs. “Omri-Ma3ak” is a nice song, but she toned down her vocals to deliver this warm melody.

“Layali ElHob” possesses a treasure box of great hits (try low bas fi E’ny) for Cyrine and for the first time, she puts out a solid album that only enriches her career and promises the masses that good looks and real, honest talent are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I am glad to report that Rashed El Majed is back! Rashed was among the leading voices who made music from the Gulf hip and trendy. “Maskalny” and “El’Oyoon” are two knockout hits from Rashed whom I can honestly say, brings home the first Gulf music album of the year that I can embrace and enjoy with pleasure. With 16 tracks, the album is worth celebrating. Sticking to his Gulf dialect and raising it to new heights, Rashed keeps Arabs well beyond the Gulf hooked and asking for more. The album is called the “the light of my eye” and that’s what Rashed did with this album: he lit our eyes with excitement. With various tracks which range from dark with “Bala Hob,” “Ella Lagga Ahbaba” to flirtatious with “Al Reish,” switching over to happy and colorful with “Wish Jaa” and culminating with “Ajebou” and the wise “Ella Lagga Ahbaba,” Rashed produces an album worthy enough to redeem him from his many years of flops.

The Universe tells us that every day, stars are born, some stars die, and some stars never go away. As for Galila, the rising Egyptian star on her way to greatness and grandeur, her recent collection does nothing but put her on the way toward a Supernova explosion that’s soon to fade away into nothingness. “Bedhak” is the title Galila chose for her album, but to be frank, I found nothing new in the 10 track album. Her songs are alright, but none of them stay with you while you’re riding the bus to work or hitting the gym later in the day. I didn’t mind her voice which I consider to be a very good sign. “Le’nek” and “Dh-Wahshny” are both tolerable songs which give some life and spice to an otherwise low energy, low beat and pretty flat album. I’m looking forward to her next album, only after she works harder on her vocals and stop whining about things we’ve all heard many times before. Galila: if you want to whine, that’s fine, but please girl, give me some good music or some creative words! The album does neither.

Assi Hilani
Not being a fan of Assi doesn’t help his chances, but with his new album out it’s hard to hate an album that has 14 tracks on it, there must be something that you like. Assi’s album is both good and original; the original is not that good and the good is not that original. While Assi won’t be losing any fans as a result of this album, he might actually gain few. Collaborating with two of the hottest and rising Arab stars doesn’t hurt a brother either. “Rg’ny-Aorgaly” hands down is the smash hit of this album. Assi, in one of his rare opportunities, allows himself to be sweet and to get soft when he’s singing with Shima’a, a raising Tunisian singer and alum of the popular star Academy TV show “Khad’tna” is a sleeper that Assi wasn’t hoping for, a tender song about a guy crying his hear out without being a wuss and rocking the powerful, manly voice. “Oyoun-ELmha” is a safe choice for the genre Assi has become known for: the loud drums, strong background singers and the debke beats. “Sahra-ELshark” is collaboration between two of the most powerful voices on the Lebanese’s scene of today: Roiada Attia, runner up for SuperStar’s first season, delivers a good song while Assi struggles to keep up (I read somewhere that Roiada actually had to tone down her vocals). The rest of the album contains a song about Arabic horses and another for Lebanon. Not so well done, Assi! Maybe next time.

Diana Haddad “Ya 3eebo” Diana visits Lebanon and teases us with this winner
Hussin Jasmiy “Akthar Haga” a fresh and a pleasant Egyptian song by a Gulfie
Sooma “Agda’a SoHab” a good song about your best of friends
Amal Maher “Ya Masir” my favorite classy Egyptian singer sings a patriotic song
Alyz “Khabartny Elasfora” a good song that came from nowhere
Yara “Hawa Ya Hawa” a great song if it was released 50 years ago
Tamer Ashour “Layaly Azaby Ma’ak” a decent song that sends a warm vibe to your spine
Sami Yusuf “Forever Palestine” Yet another song for Palestine
Samo Zeen “Byasalony Leeh” a song for Palestine “You Want to Miss”
Fadel Shaker “Eftara’ena” the prince of romance strikes again


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