Friday, November 30, 2012

My Hero Stevie Wonder Cancels On The Israel's IDF

Per US Campaign To End Israeli Occupation

Following outcries and appeals from people like you and advocates for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) around the world, renowned musician and civil rights leader Stevie Wonder cancelled his performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Annual Fundraiser Gala! We learned about the great news as we watched yesterday's historic vote by the UN to upgrade Palestine's status to a “non-member state,” despite the strenuous objections of the United States and Israel.

Palestinians, Israelis, Artists Against Apartheid, the US Campaign, and member groups US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, were among the many who reached out to Wonder. Three international petitions garnered more than 10,000 signatures, including 4,000 of you who signed our petition in the 24 hours directly preceding the announcement. The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that Wonder took note of the petitions and decided to cancel. Thanks to all who signed! 

Now Stevie needs to know that people around the world are behind him! Click here to thank Stevie for doing the right thing!

FIDF announced the cancellation yesterday, November 29th, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that marked 65 years since the UN voted to partition Palestine, leading to the exile and dispossession of Palestinians that continues to this day. Wonder's representatives said that the United Nations had also recommended cancellation in light of his official designation as a UN “Messenger of Peace.” Is it just us or did the United Nations just recommend cultural boycott?

Wonder’s cancellation constitutes one of the biggest victories to date for the Palestinian-led international campaign for cultural boycott of institutions complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid practices.

The US Campaign worked day and night on this campaign, reaching out to Wonder publicly and privately and helping mobilize thousands of individuals, organizations, and public figures around the world. But we can’t do this kind of work without your support.  

If you believe in us continuing and expanding this important work, we hope you will consider giving us a donation today. 

Activists in Los Angeles are planning a demonstration against the gala, which glorifies and raises money to support the Israeli military that enforces Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, violating the fundamental human rights of Palestinians. The fundraiser will take place next Thursday, December 6th. Click here to join the Facebook event page for details, endorsements, and updates! If you are not on Facebook, we have also posted details on our Stevie Wonder Campaign webpage here. If you are in Los Angeles, you won’t want to miss this protest!

Stevie Wonder’s decision illustrates the mainstreaming and growing power of the global BDS movement. It is by working together in coalition to continue mounting pressure on Israel and complicit U.S. institutions that the Palestinians’ rights to freedom, justice, and equality can one day be realized.  

Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely

I Miss Tamer Hosny The Versatile Singer Not The Celebrity

Tamer Hosny learns from his mistakes, as various factions in Egypt duke out their differences, he is staying out of it. The pop star is not picking sides, and has largely kept off the airwaves. This kinda of made miss the pop star that we have once loved.

The hungry guy who wanted to make good party songs, not the mega celebrities with droves of teenagers idolizing him. He really kept us guessing, looking forward to his next big surprise because we knew we could trust him on giving us high quality entertainment--he made money because he worked hard. But then when he started focusing on cool and trendy, I feel he lost his way.

The only guy that gets Tamer, and knows how to make a good party song is one name and that name wil collaborate with him once again after about two years of rift. Nasr Mahrous has always known what it takes to make a good party song, a riot song. Tamer knows how to perform those and fully understands his own strength. 

I wish we can erase most songs and movies Tamer made since 2010. I know he wishes to take back the Tamer Hosny of 2011. I miss Tamer, the Hit-maker, not Tamer the trouble maker. Will we ever see his new album, I think we will, but Egyptian have to chill out for a minute.  In this business, nothing is personal. You make a good record you stay and people love you, you do not you fold.

Tamer Hosny Sabah L Kher تامر حسني صباح الخير يا مصر "English Subtitled"

أسماء أطفال النجوم Arab Celebrities Kids Names

Sorry, this post will be in Arabic. It's a list of names, and names are just sounds written in English letters. So bear with me and read the Arabic, if you can. This is a collection of random celebrities the names of their kids.  Sp let's get a sample. It turn out that stars are just like us, they use common name for their offspring

صابر الرباعي: إسلام وصفاء Saber El Robaei, has Islam (could be a boy or a girl) and Safaa.
شرين عبدالوهاب: مريم وهنا Sherine, Mariam and Hanna very Arab names that stand for something.
كاظم الساهر: وسام وعمر Kazem Al Saher, Wisam and Omar
عاصي الحلاني: الوليد وماريتا ودانا Assia Hallani names one of his kids after a prince who produced his music...Al Waleed.
نانسي عجرم: ميلا وإيلاّ Nancy Ajram named her little girls like a ring tone, cute names though.
فضل شاكر: ألحان ومحمد ورنا Fadel Shaker has a Mohamed in the mix
أحلام: فاهد وفاطمة Ahlam named her kids Fahid and Fatemah.
أبو بكر سالم: أصيل وأحمد وأليف وألحان وأنغام وأديب Musical names for Abu Baker Salem Kids
عبدالمجيد عبدالله: عبدالله ومحمد ومنار Abdel Majeed Abdallah has a Mohamed in the mix
أصالة: خالد وشام Asalah has four kids, two of whom are named Khaled and Sham--after Syria or Damascus
أنغام: عمر Egyptain Angham, Omar--I thought she has anothe kid.
راغب علامة: لؤى وخالد
تيم حسن: فهد وورد Taim Al Hassan, for a Syrian, those are not very common names Fahad and Ward! 
نوال الزغبي: تيا وجوي وجورجي Nawal Al Zoghby, has the least sounding Arabic names for her kids.
ديانا حداد: صوفي وميرا Diana Haddad has a Sofy and Mira--light names really.
لجين عمران: سمير وجيلان
عبادي الجوهر: ساره ومي Abadi Al Jawhar, Sarah and Mai, good names for two good ladies. 

Palestinians Are Gay For Palestine UN 194

I have mixed feeling about the UN bid and the new status Palestine has gained from the UN, I know most people are giddy in Palestine. The media is making this sound like a victory, they did the same thing and sang the same songs for Oslo and for pretty much all those agreements that now they describe as dead. In one hand, I think this is good, in the other I think we may not get to enjoy this. In all events this is a big blow to the right wing Israel government who has only 9 friends in the world.

In this video, you will see a bunch of dudes who are supposed to be journalists, video editors  camera mean and reports. They broke in dance when the UN passed the resolution making Palestine member number 194. For the untrained eye, this looks like a gay fest, a bunch of dudes dancing, clapping and standing in proximate to one another.

It's one thing to be happy and another to pretend to be happy so that your bosses in the PA can keep your salary going. One more thing, I have not seen one single women on those celebratory videos. I do not mean that women should be dancing  but should it they be working alongside those dancing dudes?

The songs they are dancing to are lame too, but at some point the party moved to the streets and the guys were dancing together. To be fair, those dancing guys are not alone, I have seen similar groups of men excited at sporting events.

احتفالات شباب تلفزيون فلسطين باعلان الدولة

Qatar Jails A Poet And Screens Movies At Tribeca

A poet will face life in prison in Qatar after penning verses that state officials deemed insulting to the nation's emir and an incitement to topple the government, his attorney told news agencies Thursday.

Rights activists say Mohammed Ajami was arrested over his “Jasmine Poem,” which skewered governments across the region, at one point declaring, “We are all Tunisia in the face of the repressive elite.” He had previously recited a poem criticizing the emir, according to free speech groups.

But who cares about one poet? The government clearly does not, and that's not stopping them from promoting films and freedom of speech at their own version of Tribeca film festival that's being held at the moment with the presence of many Arab and few international stars. Whatever you do just do not insult the leader of the land....this is a farce people.

Mohammed Ajami did nothing wrong, he spoke his mind in a place that has seriously promote free speech for all those who have something nice to say about the Emir. Do not get me wrong, I love many things Qatar did and how they are trying to do more, but they have also done a number of mistakes as well. Jailing Mr. Ajami should not be one of them.

Here's how I see this ending, the Emir of the land will parson the poet, and the poet will come out and apologize about his poem. Not fair by any means, but the Emir doe snot need the bad press as the story has been picked by the global press now.

As for the film festival in Qatar, it looked like the Algerian and Tunisian cinema were big winners, as they have collected the top awards. An Egyptian women won an award for the documentary she made about men and their role in society. A young Saudi women director also won for a movie she filmed about women of Saudi Arabia.

"التائب" يحصد جائزة مهرجان ترايبيكا السِّينمائي

Watch: Amal Maher "O, Egyptians" امال ماهر يا مصريين

Amal Maher does not do politics, she is one of millions who fear Egypt might not survive the latest confrontations and street demonstrations. Her passion and anger is hard to ignore, and the music for her song says as much, patriotic and loud--just like a wake-up call.

In the song Amal Maher poses a question, "What happened to us people of Egypt?" It's a fair question, this is not the Egyptians people have on mind, they seem a lot more stubborn, and each is more vocal about his own interests and agenda. 

Not one bad word, not one bad musical note, Amal delivers a sober song at those troubling times. As many have said, people of Egypt need to chill out and remember Egypt should always be their highest priority. Amr Mostafa wrote the music and the lyrics are the works of Tamer Hussein. Each person on this song has a different political affiliation, but still their concern for Egypt united all of them.

اغنية يا مصريين امال ماهر

امال ماهر يا مصريين

Sop Rap - One life In Between Palestine And The Occupation

Scream Of Peace Rap group of SOP Rap is their name and they are here to add something to the Palestinian rap scene by bringing their complex yet relate-able stories to a greater audience. The two rap group members come from a Palestinian city inside the state of the Israel. Few rappers can rap in more than one language SOP rappers can rap in three languages  Arabic, Hebrew and English

Sop is stressing the common wisdom  you only live once. The group started in 2005, but it was not until 2010 when a studio carrying their name opened in their town. Bring Palestinians living inside a state that do not approve of you can create one emotional and mental mess. Rap is like a therapy for such drowned voices,  it allows them to tell their plight  their struggles and by this process that can heal.

Like many Arab rapers before them, the common themes are of political and social nature. Their most recent song is about getting up after you have been knocked out. The performances of Fadi Mahmeed and Ahmad El Faris will resonate with the many young people who are feeling trapped. Their songs are found on their Mixtape Diaries 2005-2012. While SOP can rap in more than one language, they have chosen Arabic to be their go to language. for starter it's their native language and more people speaks it than say Hebrew.

Sop Rap - One life / صرخة السلام سوب - الحياة مرة وحدة

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Iraqi Iconic Singer Qahtan Al Attar Rejects Fame And Quits

He was loved form the first song, and his fame kept on growing for four decades. He decided to quit the music business 20 years ago, he shuns the spotlight and rejects going back to his earlier career. He turned it all down, the fame, the popularity and the money to live alone in seclusion.

Qahtan Al Attar immigrated to Denmark and made a home there where he has a beard and took a picture in a bakery shop near an oven. some say the store is his, others says it belongs to a friend of his. Qahtan does have a oud and he often performs in private settings.

Qahtan rose to fame in the 70s and according to friends he never liked recording songs, he was lazy and he hated the studio. Even though he is very talented and has a voice that nobody comes even close to, as one fan puts it. He did have a lot of good songs in the 80s that stand tall among the Iraqi classics. Some says he is supper sensitive  he is anti-social, others say he has complexes.

Some stories about him are legendary  he hates street language and insults, if he happens to hear on as he passes on the streets, he loses sleep over it and condemns such harsh language when the Arabic language is so beautiful. He had to walk away form his family and his friends because he appreciated privacy and longed to being along--not an easy thing to get when you live with Arabs.

Qahtan has stopped singing since the early 90s and immigrated to a number of countries until he found himself in the Denmark, a country where he can find all seclusion his soul demands. His story remains one of the mysteries many Iraqis wrestle with and there are those who boast about taking a recent picture of this legend on the streets of his new home.

قحطان العطار- سهلة عندك

قحطان العطار -يانوره

Dinosaurs Attend The Beirut International Award Festival "BIAF"

Dinosaurs are no longer roaming God's earth but if you were in Beirut last weekend, you would have ran into some of those extinct creatures on a red carpet. This event tells you that those celebrities do not really care about people in trouble around the Arabic world. They do not have the people of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine on mind--they love themselves so very much.

Beirut International Award Festival (BIAF) was held in the city of Beirut where dozens of Arab entertainers collected awards....and spoke to the media. What has Latifa done in the past two years get an award? And Who is Lubna Abdel Aziz? And Elisa Rahabni takes home another award?

Eighteen people took home BIAF Awards including the legendary singer Hany Shaker--who has not released anything new in more than two years now. The only thing those self-loving and self promoters had to say is smile and pose for cameras, they have also talked a great deal about having real concerns for the Arab people. But that doe snot seem to have stopped them form enjoying themselves in a night of food, music and self-promotion.

I am all for a great time, but this is hardly the time for celebration and big dinner galas. You may say, well, what are they going to do? Nothing, they should just sit at home and pretend they can change nothing, they are no change makers.

مهرجان BIAF يستمر بالتألق في دورته الثالثة

Listen: Rowida Atteiha Hot New Single - Merci رويدا عطية -ميرسي

Rouwaida Attieh took two years off and the break seems to have paid off, she has made her presence now with the release of anew single. Rouwaida is the strongest young female voice form Syria. Her voice is so complex to describe yet so pleasant to hear. She chose a commonly known and used French word to "Merci" as a title for her song. If you remember Rouwaida took part of the first ever Arab singing competition on a reality show Super Star. She was the runner's up.

In this new single you hear Rouwaida telling her man, thanks for all the trouble, and thanks for screwing me over. It plays like a revenge song except it's a sweet song not bitter. I think most of the work has been done in layering the music track, there are so many mixed elements that make this single a dance track. It's not your average demo, but rather a complex track.

This song takes a new real value when you know that Rouwaida has just also came out of a divorce where her husband did not want kids. According to Rouwaida, he husband was more concerned with her career and not the family. Whoever wrote and composed this song deserves a trophy.  

ميرسي جديد رويدا عطية

Rowida Atteiha - Merci رويدا عطية - ميرس

One Kuwaiti Writer Wants To Ban Iraqi Music

People of Kuwait are educated, cultured and appreciate the arts. They are pioneers among many Arabs in their high sense of culture and deep sense of anything entertaining. Unfortunately, some voices in the mainstream Kuwaiti culture enjoys living in the past, likes looking backward and takes pleasure in spreading the hate of Iraq.

It was not the people of Iraq who decided to go to war with Kuwait, but rather a mad man who is gone and a regime who no longer exists. Mubarak Almo'asharjy (مبارك مزيد المعوشرجي)--whose last name means a butt hole in Arabic is taking issues with Iraqi dramas being on TV and Iraqi music playing in that country.

Instead of choosing to forgive and look forward, he wants people to boycott their brethren to the North. I am not sure if the author feels the same way about American movies and music. But Mubarak wants Kuwait to boycott all things cultural form Iraq. Mubarak is hardly the only one to pull such a stunt, many pick on Iraqi's better known artists Kathm Al Saher

  1. Kuwaiti singer Nabel Shoeel puled out of a song about Arab unity and aspirations because he learned Kathem Al Saher--an Iraqi will take part of the same song.
  2. The same singer in 2010 took a swap at Kathem and asked him to donate his very expensive watch to benefit the Iraqi children. Kathem does a lot of work and raises a lot of money for different Arab causes
  3. Promotional posters for a Kathem album in the streets of Kuwait has generated a number of lawsuits--even though the company that produces and promotes Kathem's albums is a Saudi one.
Kathem was classy about it and never answered with hate, he has always wished such voices well and had nothing but praises for his peers and people of Kuwait. This is why he might be more successful and more likable than his critics.

To be fair, most people in Kuwait have moved on their lives and have turned the page. Iraq has apologized and to the best of their efforts they have tried to make it right.  But Iraq is not the only one that gets hate letters form some tiny faction in Kuwait  during the bombing of Gaza at least two columnists wrote articles in which they celebrate it Israel and blamed Palestinians for the violence. 

WATCH: Amanda - Feinak / أماندا - فينك Turning Up The Heat

Directors find it a lot easier filming music videos in parking lot, this way they have more control, less people moving around and better set management. So Amanda could film her music video underground wearing that glitter filed suit of hers. Amanda is from the gracious country of Lebanon where she has also filmed her debut music video. AMANDA is a new kid in the Lebanese pop neighborhood her first single 'Feinak' hit the airwaves and her music video is below.

For starter, the beat of the song is very exciting, it has the kind of music that feel like the thrill of starting an engine. Clearly guys are stupid, they like cars, and sexy ladies. This formula is cliche but it has been working for over a century of entertainment. I hate to be mean, because Amanda seems like star for this age but this path has been explored many times before. This is her happy moment and this is her first song, so let's cheer her on. She is a highly educated young woman who speaks three languages. In the song she is looking for her knight and shining armor

Amanda should stop chasing fame this way, she doe snot seem natural at it and this might be great news for Amanda the person not the artist. I see a solid career in modeling and in advertising for Amanda, the pop scene now is sort of like a death march. Maybe she can do both and settle on where she finds herself the most. This is her first music video--something she prepared and trained for for months.  

While the yellow suit turned me off, the blue outfit brought me back. Amanda is even heating thing up when she took that dress off to reveal even sexier dress. As for the song, it's your average dance pop song, nothing to make you say "wow", but the music video has plenty of those.

Amanda - Feinak / أماندا - فينك

Assi Hallani Makes A Big Deal Out Of His B-Day

Lebanon's dude and most famous heir to the legends of Lebanese song Assi Hallani is celebrating his birthday with his fans and his family. So here's a collection of songs that mention his name, some are even performed by the original artists.

You get see some music old and new videos for this prolific artist. He had a long career and certainly there are those songs that you have to known and even like. See Assi dance Debka, rock the party and romance the hell out of your girlfriend. And by the way, he is celebrating this birthday when he was just been made the good will ambassador for UNICEF in Lebanon.

Assi is the sort of guy who keeps changing images, making it hard for critics to define him. He is a knight most of the time, he loves horses. Then he is MR. Hi-tech gadget dude on The Voice. In one song he is all about Lebanon, the next one he is singing for Dubai, Palestine or the King of Saudi Arabia.  So, watch this fan made tribute to their favorite home boy.

 هدية الفانز لـ عاصي الحلاني بعيد ميلاده 2012/11/28

Chobi Dance Iraq On Shatha Hassoun Beat

It's that country's signature group dance, very similar to Dabke, but a little different, perhaps faster. Most Iraqis know how to work the dance floor as they move in concert with other folks. It's one of the few things Iraqis do well in a group. And for their part Iraqi expats have taken this dance to new territories and celebrate the homeland by bringing it to their weddings and parties.  

Shatha Hassoun knows this style better than many other pop songstress, she grew up in Iraqi living away from the homeland. So in her stunning 2011 album she had a Chobi dance song with some decent lyrcis. She is asking her older uncle to give her an advise on love as two guys are competing for her affection. Confused with this love ordeal, she seeks advice with great dance beat.

Even though I am not from Iraqi, I have always appreciates the music and the dance.

ياعمه - شذى حسون | Shatha Hassoun - Ya 3ma

Zaher Saleh "flawless" With Rufus Blaq

Every Arab star dreams about being a global icon, but few can even come close to having a global audience. For starter, one needs the crossover power, the smooth dance moves, the presence and the ability to sing to top notch melodies. I think one such star already exists and he is a full blown Palestinian who lives in between New York and Ohio.

The name is Zaher Saleh, he is a perfect dancer with so many moves and tricks that can out Chris Brown to shame. But he is all about music, so he makes it when he can. After taking a year and so as a statistical he is back with a new duet which he recorded in New York with a local hip hop R&B artist Rufus Blaq.

Musically Zaher musics has been shaped by the likes of Michael Jackson, Adam Levine, Enrique Iglesias and the legendary Frank Sinatra. incredibly innovative, silky smooth, dance pop, is just one of many ways to describe the sound and style of Z.a.h.e.r. fresh off of his success from prime time T.V. show star academy fifth season where he was one of the finalists. Some people out there prefer it when a song is not in their language. If they understand the words, sometimes a word is vocalized in such a way that it seems to hold up the flow of the song. At the same time, there has to be vocals because music is just boring without it. Zaher chooses songs with that on mind.

It's is becoming tougher and tougher to make music--so little reward, but Zaher seems to work hard on himself worthy of attention. Singing in English and Arabic has never looked so easy, something Zaher is really a natural at. He does not make music that can be-defined by a given language, he moves back and forth from Arabic note to an English beat with ease.

I was moved by the comments by many of his fans who feel so passionately about their beloved star. They have very much missed him and they have cheer his new single "flawless".


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Myriam Faris Blesses The Gulf With Her Butt

The horny men in the Khalij region--Gulf area might have suppressed needs. But you would not get that impression when you know the Lebanese pop star has blessed them with all her bosom  butt and whatever else she has. And do not worry, she said, people can look at her all they want, she does not mind it.

This is what she performed one poem about chicken, business and old folks. The good people in that part of the world, will look past Myriam's fake Gulf dialect, as long as they get to see the song and not just hear it. Myriam is also empowering her self by charging them top dollars for whatever concerts they want form her and yes even TV pays her to appear on their programs. She would also shake whatever she has for those dollars.

Here, she is singing an old Emirate poem, part of the that country's heritage. They song was a surprise performance for Myriam who wanted to be further liked in Dubai where she was doing a concert. Keep on keeping on and Ms. Faris will be cheering up every time she puts on an outfit and moves around the stage faking it through life. 

باص العيايز - ميريام فارس / Bus El 3eyayez - Myriam Fares

Aseel Omran, The Boldest Woman In Saudi Arabia

Aseel Omran gets most things, she has secured an understanding husband to stand next to her as she pursues a career in entertainment. She needs this to survive the pursues of conservative society notorious for double standards. She is an all-Saudi talent, she took a break form singing and acted for two years, now she is ready for a reboot of her music career.

She released a new single, the lyrics of a poet from the United Arab Emirates, recorded there and released on a number of radios in that country and the gulf region. Aseel released an album early last year and at the moment she has a role in a Bahrain play where she also gets to sing.  

I like the dancey feel the song has, yet the lyrics are so sweet, making the song very proper for the kind of songs Aseel feels comfortable performing. The romantic poetry keeps the song appealing to the Khalij who loves imagery. So the show goes on, no matter what those conservatives and self righteous may say.
انا وحبيبي اسيل عمران جديد

Egypt's Entertainers Return To Tahrir Square

As the Egyptian president fights for his political life at a moment when his enemies are many. The vocal street, the judicial system and the media are all dumping on the president and his most recent constitutional amendments. While many in Egypt are enraged with what they see as power-grab, the proponents of the president has yet to make their voice heard.

In the meantime, the entertainer and their industry are marching back to Tahrir Square, this time they are united and unafraid to post videos of themselves standing with the activists in the squares of Egypt asking for a real democracy. But in fairness, many of the entertainers who have marched the streets are friends of the Mubarak regime. I am looking at you Youssra, Laila Oloy, Mai Kassab, Ghada Ibrahim and few more.

Hard core activists like Amr Wakid kept away form those tainted celebrities and stayed closer to the center. Same goes for Ahmed Hilmi who has supported the 25th of January revolution in its last days. Among the ranks of celebrity protesters they are half a dozen who actually understand the complexity of the situation  I name people like Shirhan and Khalid Yousef.

Whatever happens, I hope it will be for the betterment of Egypt.

خالد حماد - رحلة العودة من ميدان التحرير ٢٧ نوفمبر ٢٠١٢

WATCH: Joe Ashkar - Kezabeh / جو أشقر - كذابي

I have had the Joe Ashkar album for few months, but I only got a chance to listen to it as I drove from Washington DC to Raleigh North Carolina. I was never turned off but this album, and in fact some of its tracks were extremely pleasant.

Joe Ashkar has the image of being a player and a flirt and most of his songs rotate around those two attributes  But he does get serious and dramatic when he feels like it. He is always well-dressed, and his sense of style is worthy of copying. He dresses in accordance with some European fashion.

In his newest music video, he asks his lady, "Don't You Miss Me You Pretty Liar?" And there goes the song.  There's a portion that talks about jealousy--without really talking about it. The clip is filmed in some old town part of Beirut. I must compliment hims for going with a classy model this time where in the past he has chosen to slutty ones. It's a cute song that will appeal to both women and men alike.

Joe Ashkar - Kezabeh / جو أشقر - كذابي

Aref Might Be In High School, But He Can Rock!

This is not the first time, I declare my support for a young and underdog pop star Mohamed Aref who makes music form his bedroom and using his computer. He gets lyrics from friends  he finds a tune then he records a song...his songs are often well received by the virtual fans. But Aref can also write the lyrics himself in addition to the music composition.

Most recognize the hint of sadness in Aref's voice...Not sure what's the business plan for a CD or such, nowadays young people can make songs, but to get an album out there it seems to need a lot of work and a number of positive turn of events. Aref has submitted a cover of Amr Diab's songs for the Diab Academy, in the hopes he would stand toe toe with the king of pop himself.

I hope you find this video worth the time, Aref keep up the good day, more people would get to know and get to enjoy your music. Those who have heard your stuff tend to be fans in an instant.

Mohamed Aref - Nsset ElDonia | محمد عارف - نسيت الدنيا

Amir ElSaffar: Trumpeter, Santur player, and Vocalist

When your father comes form Iraq, you cannot really escape the great traditional music that comes form that land. That's why Amir ElSaffar embarked on a journey to learn this tradition. In 2002 he began studying the maqam tradition in Baghdad and London where he studied with the best in this traditional singing form.

ElSaffar has created new techniques to play microtones and ornaments that are idiomatic to Arab music but are not typically heard on the trumpet. As a composer, ElSaffar has used the microtones found in maqam music to create a unique approach to harmony and melody. He has been hailed by the NPR for his work on bringing the Iraqi Jazz blues into the States. The blues are the finest in Arabia, as no one tells a tear jerking story as well as Iraqi musicians has.

Among the places whre Amir took his show is the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and Chamber Music America. Amir contuines to develop a singular approach to integrating Middle Eastern tonalities and rhythms into an American jazz context, releasing three albums; Two Rivers (2006), Radif Suite (2010), and Inana (2011) to critical acclaim.

He tours with Alwan for the Arts, New York’s premiere center for Middle Eastern arts and culture. Amir's to appear next in Washington, DC for a concert.

Amir ElSaffar Iraqi Santour Solo: Maqam Rast

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WATCH: Diana Haddad - Albi Wafi 2012 | ديانا حداد - كليب قلبي وفي جـديد

Diana Haddad knew she needed a makeover so she hired the best music video director to do just that. Jad Choueiri was up to the challenge and made a beautiful collaboration with the Lebanese nineties pop diva. The moment the names of Jad came up, brows were raised in surprise. Diana has always been conservative and when you think of conservative, Jad would not come close.

But for this new single, Diana made the right cool, she needed some of that thunder and her compatriot can help her in the next phase adding glamour and sizzle. They film din both London and Beirut. The song is about being away from the one you love. but distance has also to come with loyalty and Diana found just the song.

I love the classy outfits Diana Haddad sports, Jad had a vision for this music video and the formula seems to have worked. It's like if he knows the real Diana more than she does. Her voice also sounds at its best in years, very strong and lyrics make perfect sense.

I love the split screen affect, it makes the music video alive, and the story progresses faster. The dancing troupe are mixing up old world folks with some new works moves.

Diana Haddad - Albi Wafi 2012 | ديانا حداد - كليب قلبي وفي جـديد

Moustafa Amar New Fun Arabic Kids Song

Say what you say about Moustafa Amar, but this Egyptian nineties pop star is no quitter. He keeps digging for new material and reaching out to new fans. This time, his new song is meant for kids as they celebrate their birthdays with big fat parties. Kids are very influenced by cultural icons that America creates for them, and this music video is another testament.

Amar is a father so he got that tingly feeling in his heart when he looks at the little ones. He is bringing Tony the Tiger, Shrek, Tom, Jerry, Micky and Barbie. Those guys are all invited to the little birthday party. And in case that's no enough Spider-man is also coming. The song is part of Amar's last movie--it did not do too well in theaters.

I like kids to have fun, but there ought to be a balance, you cannot be raising entitled spoiled brats. they have to do some work too. The music video is trying to sell one happy family, kids and toys. The lyrics are meant for the little ones. Hollywood might not be too happy about their creations being part of a kid video in Egypt--I am sure they would like to get paid.

Sanaa Gayaa - Moustafa Amar سنه جايه - مصطفى قمر

Jazz Meets Maqam on December 1st - A Celebration of Arab Culture in America

Arabic music does not come often to America, and when it does it is usually in the form of pop songs that have little appeal to the casual American listener. Yet Arab music is a perfect tool to build bridges of understanding and appreciation. As someone who has taught Arabic in the States, I have had my fair share of students who were drawn into Arabic because of the music and its unique flavors. Since I too enjoy Arabic music, and dedicate a lot of time to keep up with the newest, I was delighted to find out about a musical event that’s coming to Washington, DC.    

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) whose mission is in part to preserve Arab identity in the United States, is putting on their second annual Turaath (or heritage) event at the historic landmark Lincoln Theatre on DC's U Street. This Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 7:30pm a number of musical acts will come together to take us on a journey to explore the wonders and rich history of Arabic music. U Street has a storied history of jazz music, now Jazz comes back to its birthplace fused with Arabic music.

This year’s program features NYC virtuoso and composer Amir ElSaffar, Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, & composer with the Alwan Arab Music Ensemble, and the Two Rivers Arab Jazz Ensemble in a celebration of Arab culture in America, with traditional and modern music from throughout the Arab world. Amir ElSaffar, who has managed to create fresh and intense music by blending the Iraqi maqam with jazz, will bring his show to DC, allowing his listeners to take a walk down the ancient yet glorious and tragic past and present of the land of Iraq.

Aside from music, a folkloric dance company will perform dances that most Arab Americans learned growing up. The Turaath event last year delivered a number of acts and performances by Arab Americans who combined the musical originality of the region with the innovation of America. I am certain the event  this year will not disappoint! In a city where the term “Arab” is heavily politicized it’s refreshing to attend an event where simple things like music and traditional dances  do more to bring people together than a seasoned politician can muster.

This is a fun, high energy, meaningful event that attracts a diverse audience, brought together by  curiosity and an appetite for learning about the other. This event has been orchestrated by the ADC Women’s Initiative, a group that seeks to revive community mobilization through cultural events and female empowerment. As we celebrate life, despite what seems to drive us apart, what brings us together is much more lasting.

For tickets call (202) 244-2990 or visit

البوم منوعات دبكة لبنانية - من روتاناThe Groovy Lebanese Dabke Album

The Lebanese pride necessitates that you master the dance known as Dabke. You cannot boast about being from that country or from Lebanese heritage if you do not know how to move your feet and legs in concert with dozens of other people on a dance floor. I know this form my various travels around the States and meeting the folks from Lebanon.

For those people, Rotana has released them a new album that features 13 top track for this dance by Lebanese singers who will get you to move your feet. I must say, Roa loves those songs and she would rather listens to Dabke songs when she drives. They glow happiness make you want to move around. They can be sweet too.

It's not a perfect Dabke album without the voice of Najwa Karam, Faris Karam and Melhim Zain. But there's a new kid on the block who has mastered this style of singing without loosing the sweet and romantic side--Ayman Zabib. There are other voices on this album--they are all part of the Saudi label who loves to be in the Lebanese business.

01 - Khalini Shofak
02 - Hal Baouadi
03 - Aaltair
04 - El Tannourra
05 - Alawah
06 - Kermalak
07 - Men Bein El Kel
08 - Nidren 3lieh
09 - Ritany
10 - Hala Youma
11 - Shou Halyaly
12 - Nemchi W Nemcha
13 - Ghibi Ya Shams

أيمن زبيب - هلا يما

اعلان البوم روتانا منوعات لبنانية

Video: Rock Stars Don't Retire كليب راغب علامة انا مبهزرش انا مابهزرش 2012

The super star, Ragheb Alama wants you to know, he is not going to take a break or retire. Why? Because he just released his latest music video where is looking incredibly good. He is still the guy who falls in love, and not the models. He is walking on the beach and this time he brought his dog too.

Yes, for many Arab women Ragheb is the ultimate classy gentleman who has all the right moves, and the charm. Those two things never get old. As for his new music video, he chose to release an Egyptian song, he has not done than in few years. That now explains his efforts to do more concerts in Egypt. While some have not approve of Ragheb taking a TV gig as a judge on Arab Idol, the super star seems to have turned into into his advantage.

But seriously, Alama wisely might be doing the George Colony thing. He is dreamy and he is out to prove it to her foes. The only thing, the young model with him, might as well be his own daughter. And yes focusing too much on the cleavage will certainly get the attention of some fans out there.
 كليب راغب علامة انا مبهزرش انا مابهزرش 2012
Ragheb Alama - Mabahazarsh / راغب علامة - مبهزرش NEW AND EXCLUSIVE

"Salaam" By Sami Yusuf, The Album Your Soul Needs

The time for worthy messengers has been done for some times now. But Sami Yusuf is helping good the good word out to all those who would listen. Taking his message to the world and back in more tongues than more can count. Making good music that appeals to Muslims and people of other faiths. While we all love the message and the positive energy this class act performer brings into the world, I want to talk about his music.

A good song usually means that one can actually relate to it, not to mention listen to it without my ears bleeding to be blunt. It also needs to have a semi-catchy beat, so I'm actually paying attention. Sami always delivers in this sense. His catch music has crossed cultures, boundaries and languages. He changes notes and wears different hats to match the style of any given song.

As for the blending of words, I've kind of picked up on just depicting them as I go along, so that's not really a problem. I do not mind the various languages Sami Yusuf performs in. I think it's kind of enriching.  I guess I'd like the songs to be in a familiar language just so I can understand them, but I would still give it a shot if it was in a different language. Overall, a good song is just one that I listen to and want to get stuck in my head. Sami will live in your head through his rocking music and spiritually uplifting lyrics.

This is a huge album with 16 tracks of different songs, each with its own story and style to tell. But overall, the album is marinated with hope and joy.

Sami Yusuf's "Salaam" Album is well-organized, with a beginning, run, chorus, etc. Mostly mellow tracks about personal struggles and seeing injustice all around. However, some of the "screamo" rock songs they make are so fast and you can't tell when the chorus begins and where it ended, and it all melds together. I guess you can't blame Sami, his fans are spread in all corners of the earth and at times. feeling invincible is not a shame.


Sami Yusuf - Salaam (Album Trailer)

Sami Yusuf - Salaam | Official Lyrics Video -النسخة العربية the arabic version 2012)

Aly Sha'ban: Half Amr Diab, Half Ramy Sabry

Aly Sha'ban has a tender and pleasant voice. He sounds like he is a new version of younger Amr Diab's sweet side. Some might see him copying the big man's style and dress. I do not know if I would say that, but I know I like his new song "Habda' Omry" a romantic song to the core. One thing though, if you are a romantic, do not dress like a Gangster, it gives the impression that you are a sissy.

If you are going for sweet, then look nice, and not thuggish. The Mustang is a nice touch and shows the man has a sense of a cool ride. He sounds a bit of Ramy Sabry and feels like Amr Diab--both great choices to be inspired by. No denying, this is a great choice where real emotions have been consumed to bring it to life.

Aly Sha'ban - Habda' Omry / علي شعبان - هبدأ عمري

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lebanese Are The Life Of The Party In Dubai

Dubai loves to hold music festivals and events in honor of the country Lebanon. They bring the hottest stars in the land to headlight the concert and get those rich Lebanese expats to shell their hard earned dollars. One of the most recent cultural nights where the organizers set up a tent for Lebanon. For the music portion of the evening, they invited two dude singers to charm them.

Assi Hallani and Ayman Zabib brought with their their best hits, the ones that gets you to dance and the ones about romance. Naturally, the ladies packed the house, and there was no one standing idle. Concerts in Dubai bring in the cash, if she calls you go. Assi showed a different side of his personality on TV as a judge for "The Voice" Ayman is having the best years of his life.

For the dudes, they had a female singer that looks good doing her thing--Elissar who is back with a hit song composed by Marwan Khoury.

AssiAyman 20121009

Red Cross Hands Out Certificates In Lebanon

The Red Cross put together a music festival for peace, non-violence, non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual understanding. The event was called Salam. Needless to say, a number of Lebanese celebrities attended and performed at the event. To show their appreciation the good people at the Lebanese Red Cross held an ward ceremony for those celebrities that have supported the event
  1. Pop star Saad Ramadan took part of the festival and received a certificate from the organized for his services.  
  2. Lebanon's finest manly voice Hisham Hajj was given a recognition certificate 
  3. Lebanese actor Carlos Azar was also given an appreciation certificate. 
  4. Marwan Al Shami wasn't present, but he was recognized for his donated time.
  5. Stephanie Fakhih also participated in the Salam music event and was recognized -even though she was in Morocco for the award event.  
Mid Day News 21 Nov 2012 - الصليب الأحمر يكرم الـmtv

Listen: Anwar El Amir "Love And Other Drugs" Songs

I do not understand a confused song, the song that cannot makeup its mind about what style it goes under. Take the new song by one of Lebanon's most popular local boys Anwar El Amir whose new song is about doing drugs.

But unlike the chemical stuff, this time love is his drug of choice. He is hooked on this girl whom he likens to drugs in his veins. Those songs have already been made in English many times, love is a drug and science has spoke on that subject.

Anwar made a sweet song that will make him a hit with the ladies, he is already the man with all the boys who like his style and his manly songs. The song has already generated some buzz in Lebanon over its radios.

 أنور الأمير متل الأدمان النسخة الأصلية - Metel l Edman 2012

Thankful to Be Alive In Gaza: My Family's Story of Survival

To read the article on the Huffington Post click here

My two-year-old nephew Omar had been confined to a small apartment with six other screaming children and their families since Israel began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Shortly after a cease-fire was announced on Wednesday, he and his parents returned to our family home in Bait Lahia. My mother, who I spoke to over the phone, said that the first thing that Omar did was rush up the stairs in search of his most prized possession: his bike.

 To read the article on the Huffington Post click here

Listen: Ragheb Alama 2012 Single اغنية راغب علامة - انا مبهزرش | جديد

The big dog of Lebanese pop is the new kid on the block....he has a new single where he titled it, "I am Not Kidding" He means business and he has shown as much. The Arab Idol star is giving his fans a taste of his upcoming album project, by dropping the title song.

When I say, I love You, I am not kidding
When I say I want to meet you, I am not kidding
Listen good to what I am saying to you, I am leaving you my heart
This proposal I am giving you cannot be brought back.

This is a dance track with fun lyrics and mid-level energy. It reminds me of younger Ragheb when he was flirty. He might be overstretched at the moment, but his hard work is all over the media (TV, Radio and On the Internet) You can also find the singer in the Mall where you can pick up his latest manly cologne.

I am seeing and hearing more of Ragheb this year, concert sin both Egypt and Lebanon. Fragrance lunch in the Gulf states and TV appearance and interviews. Hope his album which will release for the new year is worth of such a pop star who has kept his fans entreated for 28 years now.

 اغنية راغب علامة - انا مبهزرش 2012

اغنية راغب علامة - انا مبهزرش | جديد 2012

Watch: Nancy Ajram - Badak Teb2a Fik Clip 2012 نانسي عجرم - بدك تبقى فيك

Nancy Ajram does not care anymore for that guy, if he stays or if he leaves, she is fine either way. This is her first single in three years now. And she sounds a bit jaded and not too happy with the guy who is meant to romance her. She has grew indifferent to his attempted to reconciles  when he does not really change his course of action.

Ms. Ajram sports so many looks, light personality and she seems to be more happy than sad. She is dancing to the music, trying to choke her man as she helps him with his tie. The makeup work has shaved 10 years of Nancy's true age. Something tells me this music video is another commercial for one of many businesses which Nancy Ajram endorses.

The guys tried to win her over with flowers, jewelry and such, but she is not giving in. Are women that materialistic? I do not see why the guy is a jerk? He is being so nice to hear, dancing with her, sending her gifts and all that? He spends time at home, so the music video shows nothing to hate in this guy where Nancy is talking about him leaving.

I do not understand how this has been turned into a tango and salsa song. The song changes moods with little notice. This is a B plus song, and a nice try from Nancy Ajram who can almost never make a bad song.

The lyrics are the world of Ahmed Mady, and the music is the fruit of Ziad El Burji's finest melodies. Ziad is having a ball this year and his music has made it to A listers like Nancy Ajram and before her Elissa.

Nancy Ajram - Badak Teb'a Fik / نانسي عجرم - بدك تبقى فيك

Nancy Ajram - Badak Teb2a Fik Clip 2012 نانسي عجرم - بدك تبقى فيك

Video: Haifa Wehbe Kisses Everyone And Their Dog

She is only kissing those who work in her music video, anybody on set gets a kiss from the pop diva and now single notorious product endorser and self promoter. This is behind the scene video form the making of her of her music videos where she is pausing as a pilot.

I love how the dudes act all sophisticated around her and that in her face, they act like gentlemen  but in private they are winking one another. See the dude carrying Haifa around set rescuing her from the blazes of the fire. Let's not blame her, she has an act and she keeps it in public. Money flows on her bank account as long as she can sell this playful persona of hers.

It's sad because the only ones who see this as an act and not the behavior of a real person is other women.

Hasa Ma Bina - making part 2 - Haifa Wehbe حاسه مابنا - هيفاء وهبى

Hasa Ma Bina - making part 3 - Haifa Wehbe حاسه مابنا - هيفاء وهبى

The French Group Zebda Has Gaza On Mind With "Une Vie De Moins"

Lyrics are often by poets and people who have a gift for words, college professors are not what you have in mind when you want to write a song. But since this is a song about the Middle East and Palestine in particular history is always in style. What better lyrics can you get is not written by someone who teaches history?

Jean Pierre Filiu is a professor of history (contemporary Middle East) at Sciences Po (Paris) also has a gift for words, he write lyrics for the Toulouse based hip-hop group Zebda. Together, they have released this song dedicated to the Gaza youth. The song is about finding hope and not giving up in a desperate situation. This is the voice of a population that has seen it and lived it all from the mass protests to the violence. Giving up on hope is not on the table.

Thanks to the gift of subtitle we have the song in both English and Arabic. As for the rap band, Zebda.  mixes rock, rap, ska, Latin, Arab, and French accordion music. They have been around since 1985 doing their political activism through music. The popularity of the group showcases their lyrical wit, musical excitement and unique talent to generate limitless supplies of good-will. Some appreciate their playful sense of humor, commitment to its music, and mastery of its unique style.

Aside from that, Zebda's music and messages focus on heavy and often divisive issues like immigration, assimilation, racism, equality, and the problems facing. This time they turn their attention to Gaza, a place like the has been dismissed by the media and politics. Something Zebda knows a lot about as they grew up on the margins of the French way of life.

Zebda just performed in Toulouse where they played a live version of their "One life less" at the very moment of the Gaza long-awaited ceasefire. How timely, even though the song has been released some time ago, it's still applicable.

Zebda-One life less-(une vie de moins)

Zebda- حياة بالناقص -(une vie de moins)

Toni Qattan Wants To Serve You Some Cheese!

In my book Jordanian pop star, Toni Qattan makes very few mistakes. Here's a recent one. Making a romantic and cheesy song that makes little sense and adds absolutely nothing to his career to the entertainment of his listeners.

Dated piano melody, over consumed romantic lyrics and weak (certainly not sweet) vocal showing from this singer who is capable of so much more. Why did he do this song? I have no idea, but I feel I am not the only one who resents this lame song of his. Let's hope he goes back to making happy and let's dance songs.

Toni Qattan - Habibi Ta'ala / طوني قطان - حبيبي تعال

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Video: Carolina de Oliveira Schools Dipshit Oussama Rahbani

Celebrity Duets show on LBC had a great night where one of their judges got his ass handed back to him by one of the show participants. Oussama Rahbani is a jerk and he has no problem take the trash out. But this time he barked the wrong tree. He spoke about her weight, her height and her wide shoulders.

He did not have kind words to say to the Brazilian Lebanese songstress appearing on the show. Calling her names, and insults. She tried to be cool for a second, but she could not take it no more. I loved when she talked back and told Oussama Rahbani to bag his advise. He dug himself deeper and did nothing good to help him with women, Lebanese and expats.

The young women's name is Carolina de Oliveira and I am loving her standing up for her self and for those who never get a chance to talk back. She told him, "we are on the show to have fun, we are no students and we are celebrities." I love the portion where she told him, "If I am obese, you are as huge as the titanic."

Oussama watch and learn how to do it...the judge had other ways to drive home his message, He come across as a bully and idiot. Carolina had many shows on TV where she has hosted dozens of them and helped promote tourism to her homeland Lebanon.

مشادة كلامية بين اسامه الرحباني وكارولينا دي اوليفيرا

Qasem Al Sultan Just Got Played

Many great Iraqi songs are usually written by the artist that perform them. The artist is the source of inspiration, the source of pain of joy, no middle man. The trend now is to features hard rock roots, electric guitar wall-o-sound, extensive vamping, a vocal-centric aesthetic, and a dirty guitar solo. Sounds like a pretty good description to me.

Take Qasem Al Sultan, a fixture of Iraqi music who has all the right emotions and vocals strength  he is not the kind of artists that models in his music video--he is no pretty boy. But he has all the things that makes a hit song a joy ride. His song is about cheaters whom he has given all his heart.

Really, for me it's just a package deal. What makes a great song can be different from band to band given their strengths. I suppose if I were to try to put together an informal formula for it there would be melody (it's funny how this means a lot more to me than the lyrics. I appreciate great lyrics, but by the time I know them I usually already know whether or not I like the song, It's generally an afterthought, a really nice bonus.

With that on mind, enjoy Qasem's pouring his heart to you. And remember, Qasem composed most of his songs.

Qaaem Al Sultan - Bas Youmin / قاسم السلطان - بس يومين

Iraqi Pop Prince Qais Hisham In "To'bor Alby"

For Iraqis to keep dancing, they need people like the young pop singer Qais Hisham to make dance music. Qais is the young voice among many legends who have already taken Iraqi pop to new lands. Iraqis all over the world wait for such tracks and jump all over them if the songs were any good.

Not too many Iraq based Iraqi singers are still turning out dance tracks, they have all moved to places like Dubai, Syria, Canada and the United States. I have come to like the Iraqi music and most of all the dialect, it's like a bridge to that old history.

I find Iraqi songs are more complicated and more afflicted than most Arabic ones. sweet and insubstantial, offering all attitude, usually too much of it. So Qais tends to offer songs that are full of perfect little voices. "Organic" is the right word and a little bit of edge.

Qais Hisham - To'bor Alby / قيس هشام - تؤبر ألبي