Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marwa If The Angels Would Sing......

You Owe it to yourself to enjoy this song....

Marwa Website is here

No other Arab Star can cover Fairouz as well as Marwa does it. Not since Diana Karazon.

Marwa is going to be around for a while, get used to it...

Marwa - Batkallem Begad / مروى بن صغير - بتكلم بجد

All You Need To Know This Summer Arabic Music: Reviews and Links

Summer is just about over, Ramadan is approaching faster and hotter than ever, Arabic musicians are scrambling to sell as many records as they can. The World Cup did not help them sell records, fast internet connection when pirates have a free hand to download their hard work for free. This summer had a number of much anticipated summer albums, few of those will be around for a while, fewer were actually good. While the mighty Amr Diab has yet to release his obligatory annual album, there have been tease from that album and we are not that impressed. Also very few women Arab singers came out with new albums this summer, not sure what that is. These summer albums tend to be a bit more loaded with romance, and tales of breakups than your average summer songs. There is of course some exciting music, but I hardly can name one song that has everything. Here is my take on this summer’s biggest albums.

Mohammad Fouad, the popular Egyptians singer that went missing for 7 years only to make a huge comeback in late 2007 with a solid album that featured all the themes and emotions he has the chops and the legacy to express best. His 2010 album “Been Edik“, was a treat to all his fans as there are at least four great songs in it (the entire 2007 album was gold) The Egyptian star took a page of Amr Diab’s book and had a makeover where he lost pounds and had a great haircut. His title song “Been Edik” is a good romantic song where a lover tells his loved one he is theirs and only theirs. “Ebn Balad” where Fouad visits his most original theme about being a good home boy who does the right thing even when he has been wronged, the song speaks volumes of Fouad’s fan base who tend to be proud of their tradition and love for their homes. You can really run to this song and feel the beats in your bloodstream. “Saat Bashtaq“, is perhaps my favorite song of this album where Foaud takes you on a tour down memory lane and counts all the things you loved about being a child and being with the family and your first touch of your loved one…those might sound like a Taylor Swift domain, but imagine Fouad, a grownup man with kids of his won making those sentiments relevant again.

Mohamad Hamaki, Egypt’s coolest and the most hip star. The one true heir to the legacy of Amr Diab, in terms of making great music and keeping his style fresh and exciting. Hamaki makes an album once every two to three years, and every time he releases his album he lets his fans do the PR, not conferences and agents. You know, he is the guy who seems down to earth, always dressed nice, and defining his voice and his music. “Haga Mosh Tabyeah” is the title of the album and it was a good song, but not all the original, however, the beat makes this song enjoyable. “Meataakad” is the song I enjoyed where Hamaki tells of his emotional state after going through three failed love experiences, the lyrics of this song is original, the theme and the atmosphere are both sad, but not dark. “Ehsas Fazze“, “Kan Mali” and “Lissa Bitkhaf” are both wonderful songs where the guitar and broken heart tales tell the stories, I am pretty sure young lovebirds in the Arab world will tear up once they hear this one. I like those songs for the same reason I like R & B. “Law Daayali“, one of those rare love songs where Hamaki talks about the things important to him, as his mom’s prayer to him and other things that keep him up at night. “Betdari” is the song to dance while the worlds count they hide and seek games lovers play in an attempt to hide their affection toward the other. Great job Hamaki and props to your sound engineers.

Marwan Khoury, the Lebanese one man show had his latest album this summer. This singer, composer, lyricist, producer when not writing hits for popular singers, when not creating new music, he is making his own album. Marwan can be found telling his lover to lower her voice in “Watti Sawtik“, a good song where he brags about not being out shouted by his lover’s loud voice. In “Al hoodood” “Mish Khayekf Ala Lebanon” two intimate accounts of what it’s to be a Lebanese in light of the frustrating political landscape, this is where Marwan showcases his wisdom and affection to his beloved country. “Mish Kil Min Ghana” Marwan’s gem about exposing half baked lovers and posers to the game of love. He is telling his lover that not everybody sings a love song has feelings….etc. “Raksah” is when Marwan takes a detour to the Euro Techno style music and shine at least for those who are into this type music. Marwans’ biggest asset is his continued success in elevating the taste of the Arab listeners by finding new ways to describe one’s emoptional status. “Fakrit Niseet” brings back Mawran 2005 back, where he was in top of the game, I do like the passion and the stories this song flaunts. “Definitely good album for Marwan, better than the last one, but no “Qasar Alshouq

Abdell Fattah El Gerini, the Moroccan singer who has the best hair an Arab singer can get a way with. “3 Kalmat” is the new album from this funky young star that only has three albums under his belt. “3 Kalmat” is a wonderful song and he has done similar songs int he past, but his music keep it fresh. He might be the first Arab singer to sing about painkillers. “Ya Bakhit El noom” is a sweet song and I think is a new territory for Abdell Fattah where he gets to show off some of his voice chops. He gets to tell his special one that he envies sleep as he takes her away from him where she spends more time a sleep that with him. Maybe a bit creepy, but the song itself is nice. “Hob Gareeb” is where the singer is as his sweetest moment talking to girlfriend about their strange love tale. I happened to like the music of “Seebak Enta“, it brings rather a great energy and simple lyrics….tells her to forget what people have to say. Abdell Fattah El Gerini continues to shine and I am sure his fans are pleased with him, I am not sure if his music producers share that. Abdell Fattah El Gerini gets concerts and I think he did some ads where his signature hair comes in handy to make him stand out in a crowded Arabic music scene. I give him credit for not trying to get into the tasteless dancing naked women,his music videos are always about one person.

Eslam, in this age countless young Egyptian stars come and go, this young Egyptian singer that gets little media attention, but might be the hottest thing with college freshmen. He clearly sings for women as his voice is weak, his music is mediocre, but the dude looks like a million dollar. “Bahlam Ma’ak“, the title song that has better music video that words does not stand out. “Habethha” Eslam declares his love and falling in his lovers bait…ok. “Law Fat” growing old but never forgetting your first love is a noble thought if you are in high school. “Zay Ma Kan Fi Baly‘ I like the music, and the tone of Eslam where he brings the best in him, telling us that he has finally found the love that for long he has had in his imagination. His beau makes his love real and makes him a better person. “Nesseny Leh” karaoke perfect song to complain about being neglected by your loved one, not a new theme, but Arabs romantics like to cry on the spilled milk. “We De Feha Eih” a song that Eslam might have banked on to make it as a hit, I do not happen to agree. I do not see anything new about Eslam, there are at least five comparable Egyptian stars that rely on good looks and appeal to younger females. Mark my word, Eslam will probably star in a romance or comedy movie in the near future.

Black Theama, a boy band in America is an old idea, but when this man band is Egyptian, I am interested. The All boy bank Black Theama is back with their third album, and I was dazzled. They just do not sing much about love the same way everybody is doing nowadays. “Bahar” a song for the love of home and the good people one has in his/her life. A tribute song that will sure reminds you of Egypt and the fascinating beaches. The band members all sing and that’s a treat as every member add a new pleasant note of the song. If you like original music, creative lyrics, then you ought to give them a listen. “Zahma El Metro” you know the missed connections with that exotic looking person you saw on the metro. “Konna Seghar” about being a child looking to grow up and the role friends have in one’s life. “Eflet Zemam” a song the voices of the singers save the song as the music is supporting them not the other way around. “Aalo Aal Hob” if you had any doubt this band is confident, this song erases that doubt. Coming to the defense of old fashioned love where lovers are considered gullible. “Ensan” is all about the imperfection of the human and the complexity of the individuals in this modern era. Singing for an imperfect sheik, cowardly knights devils disguised as humans, if you want some wisdom this song will give you a dose. The great thing about this band is that they explore new themes very few mainstream singers pay attention to is refreshing. This is the kind of music you will hear outside big cities where you can afford to kick back and reflect. I bet anything if Egypt wanted a band to speak for them outside, Black Theama would be the best ambassador. Folksy, hip and smart that sums Black Theama, they are from the people, hear their stories and express them in a original voice, the equivalent of country music here.

Suma, the Egyptian singer turned actress released her summer album, to her credit no one expected it to be any good, until it was the best female album this summer season. “Da Habibi” is the title song and the one Suma choose to make into a music video (do yuo see Miley Cyrus resemblance?), it was a good choice to re-introduce Suma to a larger audience. There is the an uplifting suicidal-like tone, but the music props the lyrics to make an exciting song better. “Suma went out for this album and incorporated Euro (Ana Law Ba’ol), Karaoke, pop, and good old school Arabic tunes (Allah Ya Sidi). “Ana Law Ba’ol” “La’eeet Maak” remind me why Arab women make great lovers, they always stand by you, just do not be a jerk about it. I like the lyrics of this song plenty. Suma gets to hit all the notes without hiding behind the music. “Allah Ya Sidi” this song seems like coming from the deep history of the golden age, it’s duet where Suma steps it up a notch and showing a side of her voice that was hidden till this song. There is good Eastern instruments in this song, but do not worry it’s upbeat. If you like older Arabic duets, this song is for you. I love a great album from a female artist who refuses to be defined by others, she moves from one theme into another and the fan has a lot to celebrate. For me “Etkhadaat Feek” is where Suma feels comfortable and gives us a gem where she has been wronged and she sings for moving on without chickening out. She takes her so called lover to task and she smacks his face without lifting a finger. If this person who did her wrong does not tear up by the end of this song, he/she is dead from the inside. Not a boring album and Suma should be rewarded for her hard work to put Egyptian female singers back on the map. I know Suma has a fan in me and hope other Arab listeners can agree with me.

Asala, the Syrian Diva (now citizen of Bahrain) is sick of singing in non Gulf dialect so she has released her second all gulf dialect album. Asalah is a legend and she defiantly has nothing to prove, she has done it all and sang in all Arab dialects and doing so well too. “Qanoon Kefak” is the title song and you see a powerful woman who refuses to cave in every time. “Bas De’keke” is features new musical style, think Pink Panther theme music blended with Gulf tones. you know when you have an all Gulf album that you will be receiving a lot of poetry and wisdom. “Ella Mita” is my favorite song in the album, I like the theme and I am pleased with Asalah’s voice in this song, I do appreciate the wisdom of it too. “Sam O ‘Asal“, translated into “honey or poison” where Asalah asks her loved one for advise on what to do with his love. This song is very close to the classical Fus’ha Arabic language. “Shakhs Yotaham“, a person to accuse sounds like a innovative title. Asalah is once again commiserating with her heart telling it to toughen up because there is still hope that someone will come along and care for that poor little heart. Asalah and her team did to the Gulf music a favor by blending new themes into this largely musically poor genre. I think Asalah should make more songs that way, maybe people start actually listening to those powerful words poets in that part of the Arab world come up with. I know many critics shun the all Gulf albums, I can see their frustration, but it’s a great business decision that adds to this traditional form where Asalah’s high pitch voice is well served. If you are on a quest to find new lyrics and mature themes this album is for you, if you want something catchy and danceable, skip this album

Mai Slim, the Jordanian (maybe actually Palestinian) is the biggest star of this summer in the Arab world. Mai stared in the Dealer, Egyptian movie along aside Ahmad Saqqa and she has ruled the summer. Her album “Leena Kalam Badeen” was released early July By Rotana and as a singer that has yet to define her, the album played well and she had headlined a number of concerts in Egypt. She is also busy filming Ramadan TV shows. I like the cover art for Mai’s album, it shows a pop star that she is. “Ewe’edni” is one song that we have heard before, an Arab singer tells her lover to be in true love with her and be just for her. “Farhet Omry” was the song that appeared in the movie the Dealer and I must say to Mai, good choice on describing the feelings and thought of a bride as she walks into a new life during her wedding night. Wow, Mai is a first rate lover and this song that no other Arab singer has tackled. Then came Mai and there was a hit with fresh lyrics. “Meen Elly Qallak“,”Kalam Ketir” Arabs love juicy gossips about couples, just like those Hollywood paparazzi. Mai delivers a song about the very subject as now people talk about her since she saw her with her lover to be and then there are trash talking to separate them. “Kont Mashya” is a quite song where Mai lets her emotions out and puts the listener at ease with the tale she tells of running into her old loved one in their first year anniversary of being apart. “Leena Kalam Ba’dain“, Arab guys just like all guys we get scared when the girl tell us “We have to talk about it later” Mai Saleem does it with this song by the guy does not freak out becasue she tells him they have to catch up on stories and longing. “Leena Kalam Ba’dain” proves to be a catchy song, along with “Saktalou” they make the coolest songs and perhaps best beat as you can dance or do something physical. Mai gets spiritual on us with “Sam’aa” where she overhears him praying for them to be together. Mai says Amen to that of course. It’s as good of a time as anytime to say that Mai gets better with every new album, she seems to be on the right track to establishing herself as a household name without having to show too much skin or pick a fight with Haifa.

Tamer Hosny, there was a time when Tamer Hosny was the coolest thing in Arabia; there was a time when Tamer was making great music; there was a time when Tamer Hosny thought he had to make hard to earn your fascination. Unfortunately this time has long passed. To be honest, Tamer is still the hardest working Arab musicians, it seems he is capable of releasing a new song every three days, staring in a new movie a month, and selling you cool stuff. He still can do that, but It was a letdown with his latest album “Ekhtarit Sa’H” in which he proclaims to have made the right choice. A new album with 14 tracks will sell as he is one marketing machine and his young fans would do anything he asks of them. Let’s talk about his album “Sweet Melody” or Ya Salam, the world does not need another Trashy song that has no soul. Auto Tune is not cool anymore and Tamer is late to the party…so feel free to dismiss this song. “Aflet Alby” the new emo song by Tamer where love is not worth it and he is giving up. He even does not want to open his eyes to avoid seeing other than his girl. “Ain Shams” perhaps a cool song if you are stalker, Tamer stalking college girls in Egypt where he left his car and kept following her around. The music of this song and the rhythm are not bad. “Bets’aab Alya Nafsy” Tamer is feeling bad for himself for all the trouble he had to go through for love. This is the kind of song you know Tamer is really good at it…he is a master of this style romance and the trouble of being in love and having a to deal with a broke heart. “Ekhtarit Sa’H” Spanish guitar wins, Tamer does a song that he has done better in the past. What kind of girls does Tamer fall in love with? They must be brutal…he cannot seem to learn his lesson. “Kam Wahad Fina” the song Tamer marketed by asking his fans not to play near their loved ones since the song is about “What ifs?” and settling for second best because our first choice was not something we can make work out. A new subject that Tamer has not sang for in the past so he brings out to his credit this is a decent song. “Seh’it ‘Ala Sotha” Tamer here is trying to mimic Amr Diab style and it turn out an OK song, but nothing special. Tamer has a way of making girls feel special, I am not sure that translates well with older women who can look beyond the looks and cool factors. But that’s why many young Arab men love him since he expresses a lot of the thoughts that crosses their minds and since they like to play his music on their phones in the hopes their female peers will notice them. Sorry Tamer, I could not find one worthy song in the entire album, no hits, but no flops either. “Yana Ya Ma Feesh” I compere Tamer of this album to Justin Timberlake, if you like him then anything he does is good enough. There is one catch song in Tamer’s album the one song might not forgive a weak album. It was the promo song for his summer flick.

Hany Shaker, I love a hard working man, what I love even more a man who has been working hard on his craft for 40 years. the prince of Arabic music had his album out for now a month, it’s all about romance, love , missed connections, and heartbreak. Those are the same things he has been singing for 40 years and he still not done. I love his latest album. “Baadak Maleesh“, “Ahla El Ziykryat“, “El Ekhlas“, “Alemny Asbab El Farah” “Hkyat El Donia” are only good songs with words that actually make sense, although mostly dark songs where the lover ends up losing what he values the most. “Sa’ab Gedan”, the very special song Hany wrote for his daughter who is currently in hospital in the States for medical attention. Hany, what is your secret, have you discovered the fountain of youth?

Rashidi, a new singer from the land of Pharaohs, I never saw this guy coming, nor I know anything about him, but I sure like his style and the energy he brings into the Arabic music scene. Try, “Leek Talabat” if you want to remember the funny things your loved ones used to ask you to do for him/her. Feeling down “Hasheel Alby” will cure your broken heart and gets you moving on in no time. “Mish Zay had“, you know the first days in your new relationship and you are giddy and stomach sick when you are away from the one you love. Rashidi soars in this album and I am glad to have listened to it and enjoying it to the last minute. Rashidi has the charm, the looks and the charisma than many new stars need to learn–he has is all naturally. Rashidi will be embraced by the contrarians as he is not a huge star, but he is on his way and this album brings him closer

Natasha, Nancy Ajram is so last decade, I introduce the next big thing, Natasha is only 16 years old, but has a funky already to her name. I first heard her single and waiting for the album. She is from Lebanon, she got the energizer bunny going for her, Doubts? Sure Listen to “Ana Zay Zykom” and you will know she is the girl that all men cannot say no to. She can do that with her style and grace, she just seems like the nice girl that knows how to make you like her. I am impressed with her team who got her an album in under 6 months. I can see a bright future for this young singer, she has all the right stuff and has already a serious song in her resume (it took Nancy Ajram 5 years to come up with on) “Ba’ad Bakeer” another song from her album has its music video out now, see good Natasha is, and how innocent she is. The musicians and the composers worked with her really and truly believe in her talent.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mohamad Mounier, Larger Than Life Arab Rock Star

Egyptian legendary singer and musician had a sold out concert this weekend in Cairo, of the North Shore, this is one Egyptian singer that cares about his fans. He has been titled the Voice of Egypt, the King...and all those titles do not really do him justice. Born in the heart of Egypt, Aswan, the town that gets little attention from the central government, and its people find themselves often neglected.

He insisted his fans only pay 40 Egyptian pounds per ticket (about 7-8 bucks), there is not surprise that more than 60 thousand screaming fan waited till 12:30 Am to see the star.

To keep up with his political activism, he told the fans about how changed from the inside is more important than the outside, and encourage them to play a positive role in changing the Egyptian political landscape. Mounier has also declared donating a large sum of money he's received from one the concert sponsors to benefit a medical relief group. If this guy not a rock star I do not know who else it.

Keep on mind, Mounier's concert was taking place during another popular concert in the same town for the popular Egyptian singer Hamaki. To get 60 thousand fans speaks volume of this star power Mounier enjoys.

Another video of the concert

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hamaki Throws a Concert of a Lifetime

Hamaki, the true hair to the legacy of Amr diab, and the hip voice for this generation is promising a concert like no other....tonight. On Friday July 23, 2010 Hamaki will be the star in his own show where he will be releasing his new album....his first in 2 years.

The Hamaki team is promising a concert like no other...a concert worthy of this big star that respect his fans and does everything he can be making them happy through his music choices appearances.

They have hired special affects crew from Spain, the same crew that worked with the world's largest pop stars (Madonna, Britteny Spears,Mariah Carey) The concert manager is promising attention to details and giving Hamaki and his fans, the concert that they deserve.....just on the Northern coast of Egypt in popular sea resort Porto Marina.

I am sure this would be a concert not to be missed, and this cool Arab singer will deliver a great perfromance. What makes Hamaki a star in addition to his music, his charisma, his choices and unlike other Arab stars, rarely do you hear he got in a fight with other stars or criticize them. He simply does his own thing and let his fan enjoy it. Props to Hamaki for collaborating with his buddy Toma (Egypt's' greatest young music magician)

Waleed Mansour talks about Hamaki's summer 2010 concert

Tamer Hosny Woke Up to Put us to Sleep

You know him, Tamer Hosny, the young star who thinks he is larger than life talent....he can release a song a day, a movie a week, and put a concert in the weekend...one a giant marketing machine. Tamer is an empire where hundreds of talented young people manage his image and his brand. Too bad he can be often found taking credit for others work....but that's just gossips....

His latest music video where he is hanging out with his homeboys, driving around in a cool convertible car, coming out from what looks like a mansion...his song is titled "I woke up to her voice", make sure you grab some cheese with that....

we really just like to make fun of Tamer, but he is truly a hard working talented singer that delivers doses of romance to the army of teenagers who make his fan base.

The Latest in Arabic Music, Spring Update

Many Arabic songs have been released the past few months, it is not the summer yet, as most Arab stars are holding out on releasing their albums and much anticipated songs. Here is an update on the latest hits and misses.

A number of Arab singers make a song for Palestine, اوبريت في طريقك يافلسطين - ملايين translated on the way to Palestine, I like a number of the singers in this large production, but to me it seems that the song tells the Palestinians to go get themselves killed while the stars of this song party it up safely in their home countries. Thank you guys for this song, but it takes more than a song.

Popular Arabic show "Star Academy" season 7 is out and there are a number of promising stars from different Arabic countries, when the star are not making the news in manufactured scandals, some make good songs. Many contestants now do songs in English, like Arabis is not good enough anymore. Here is one contetant that has what it takes voice wise.

Want to know why Egypt is awesome? Here is a powerful song by Loai, Egyptian star, the song played in a popular movie about an Egyptian soccer star who makes it big and helps bring cheers to the common man and woman in Egypt. I really like this song, it makes me think of home.

Ever wondered if there is an Arabic Lady Gaga, the search is over we found her. Carol Saqer, Lebanese singer that makes serious songs with mature music themes and she has all the stage enrgey that can rival Lady Gaga--no she won't show you as much skin. But here is Carol, the Arabian Lady Gaga.

Who did what? Not sure what to make of this guy, but he seems like he is from LA, but I think he is from Morocco, there are lot of babes in his music video, I have no idea what he is singing about.

Meet Abu Leef, Egypt's newest sensation singing about King Kong, Facebook, breakups, kids, passports, and other obscure subjects. He is the number 1 selling singer in Egypt now. I am not sure but I like his King Kong song where he is telling his girl he is not a metro man as he thinks he is King Kong and he can play Ping Pon with his hands tied to his back.

Rajaa sings about mothers and she managed to make an awesome comeback as she has been getting less songs and less publicity, it's a actually a good songs that came to celebrate motherhood. March 21, is the day most Arab countries celebrate mother's day.

Remember the 90s? then you would know Pascal Mashalani, the Lebanese beauty and former Miss Lebanon is trying to organize a come back, she has failed to resurrect her appeal for a decade now, she is still popular in North Africa, maybe her new song will succeed in giving her some air time?

A Tunisian star that does an Album in the Gulf accent and pull it of? Here is Latifa's latest song Kol Wahed in the Khaliji accent. Look I like Latifa and I like how outspoken she is about her support for Palestine and Iraq, but not sure if I am ready to see her doing Khaliji yet.

The saddest Arabic song by the happiest guy Joseph Attieh, the young Lebanses singer releases an album in that album he has Mahmoum (Preoccupied) among other songs. People celebrate his song and the music video serves the song.

I like Carol Samaha and no surprise that I also enjoy her latest music video, Carols and her team knows to create an experience for each and every song she makes. It's good to know that she is the busiest Arabic singer at this moment as her concerts are on demand in the Gulf, Morocco, Egypt, and her home country Lebanon. Carol also is doing a lot of charity work

OK, a new Egyptian singer that has some fans, I am not too sure if he can stand out in the crowd, but for now he seems to be doing fine. Here is Haitham Nabil

Rashid Al Faris gives us the most romantic Arab song in a long time, maybe it's the always energized and Hijab wraing UAE born female director that stood behind the scenes and made sure to capture the spirit of the song instead of making the song a sidekick to a mediocre music video. I showed this clip to an all-American female freind of mine and she said, "Why do they always make the white girl look like a jerk?" I thought that was not the impression I was looking for. I enjoy both the song and mellow music video. Rashid reminds of of Keane

Yara, the Lebanese singer released her much anticipated music video that everybody literary has been waiting for. The music of the 30s have never been hotter, I do not thing any Arab singer has been able to use that sort of music and put out a good show, no not since Fairouz. Yara insists that she is the best female Arabic singer who respects her fans and her profession. She is the ultimate good girl as she has never used her skin to get ahead....she only uses her voice and her natural charisma and beauty.

Sameera Saed, the Moroccan star and hit maker has been making hits since the 80s still got it...she is sort of our Madona, here watch her on stage as she performs her latest hit. I cannot wait to listen to Sameera's latest album due this summer. I bow in the presence of relentless musicians who give the young stars a good run for their money.

Mai Sliem - Saktalo / مى سليم - ساكتالوا

Mai Sliem - Saktalo / مى سليم - ساكتالوا

Here is a confession, I never cared for Mai Sliem, I thought she was a faker who lacks her own style. That's not true anymore, she has one me over about three months ago with new songs that makes you want to listen to them over and over without making you sick of them. Mai is back and she just released a single from her upcoming single with the Arab music powerhouse Rotana....I cannot wait to get my hand on this album, I am sure it will be a treat.

Mai did not stop there, she is also staring in an Egyptian blockbuster movie "The Dealer" along side Ahmad Saqa, Egypt's most popular respectable young actor turned into hit maker.

Back to the song Saktalo is an awesome song with a beautiful music video that delivers first rate entertainment while showcasing Mai's acting chops. I must say that I bless the marriage of Mai Sleim and Rotana where the first brings her own style and voice...and the second brings all possible resources production and marketing.

See Mai tease her loved one and share his jealousy and thoughts about his past relationships without coming across as a whiner. she does it in grace, elegance and confidence of a spiky girl.

Israel, Not Hamas, Bans Music in Gaza

musicDuring my visit to Gaza this summer saw devastation, destruction and hunger on daily basis. I heard so many horror stories about the situation on the ground prior to my visit, but many of those stories came alive as I walked down the shattered streets of Gaza and spoke to people with shattered dreams and broken spirits. One effect of the Israeli embargo is to limit the goods making it into Gaza Strip to punish the government of Hamas. Items such as cement, glass, paper and steal are also banned; even NGOs commissioned with the rebuilding of Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli offensive have yet to deliver on their promises of rebuilding.

The list of restricted items is ludicrous. Israel subjects the entry of items such as dairy products and Humus to political facts on the ground. So if the Palestinians in Gaza have been good, they give them a treat. This treat can be letting in few trucks of fresh fruits into the Strip, for example.

I came to learn this summer that Israel bans genuine music CDs and movie DVDs from making it into Gaza. As I was trying to put a list of good songs together to play at my engagement party, I was shocked to learn that no genuine music CDS are sold in Gaza. I even went to Gaza’s business district to try to find someone -anyone – who might have a few original music CDs. I had no luck. When I wanted to do a movie night in Gaza at home, all we can find is the popcorn since genuine DVDs are also banned from making it to Gaza. Arabic production companies such as Rotana, Melody Music, and Mazzika are not permitted to bring in their goods to entrain the people of Gaza. Even DVDs of Hollywood blockbusters do not make it into Gaza like they used to prior to the embargo. So those Egyptian comedies and action movies lose some of the revenue they used to generate from selling their original work in Gaza. Palestinians used to bring those items back with them as they travel back and forth from Egypt–nowadays the crossing is closed and very few people manage to get in or out.
Unfortunately, music CDs and DVDs are not an item that tunnel smugglers chose to bring into Gaza as their profit margin tends to be lower than, say, Snickers chocolate bars. I did once however find a number of original Egyptian flicks, but they were older ones and that was the only way the tunnel smuggler can make a profit. The new releases come at premium, which cuts into the tunnel’s operator’s profit.

This has turned a few venders to selling bootleg and inferior quality copies of CDs and DvDs. Very few new releases make it as it takes them time to download them off the internet and find blank CD necessary to make a bootleg. It does not help that Gaza’s internet is very slow nowadays. Prior to the embargo, it was not fast, but it was faster than it is now. As a result of the lack of new equipment and overcrowded networks the internet does not permit fast downloads and uploads. In other words, it takes an entire day to download an album–your only choice as the embargo bans legal copies form making it. The piracy problem continues as frequent power cuts make downloading from the internet a frustrating mission. You can imagine the frustration of a Palestinian young man wanting to catch an episode of Prison Break, incidentally a big hit with the Gaza youngsters. I will never forget the college girl who complained about not being able to get a good copy of Taylor Swift’s latest album in Gaza. The problem of lack of access to quality entertainment is made worse by the lack of credit cards to purchase albums off iTunes. Hulu, the popular video viewing website does not work in Palestine and that was one of my great regrets as I was looking forward to introducing my fiancé to few episodes of Family Guy and Two and a Half Men.
The irony is that while Hamas, an Islamic affiliated group, allows music and movies to be played in Gaza, the Israelis rob Gazans of any entertainment to enjoy.

As far as human struggles in Gaza, the problems of finding good music is not a major one, but it’s affecting the people the West tries to win over, the ones that actually enjoy American life and the ones who actually comprehend English. The other problem, which Americans better understand, is the lack of safeguard intellectual property rights as a foundation of the new economy. Finally, how is the Israeli ban on music and movies in Gaza isolate Hamas? It does not really do that, if anything banning entrainment in Gaza might actually be doing the exact opposite of that as we are isolating the ones who appreciate the arts. It’s odd how this embargo policy is the gift that keeps on giving to the most extreme segment of Hamas, the zealot religious base, who abhor music.

Arabic Music Videos I am Not Thankful for

It’s amazing how progressive Arab Music videos have gotten. I am impressed whenever a Westerner sees those music videos, they are shocking by how scandalous they are. Look, I am not complaining, these ladies are good looking and know how to “work” their fans by working what they’ve got it. For this stuff to be shown on public TV during peak time, is a problem. So I guess I wasn’t surprised to see during my my trip to Egypt and Gaza that no one watches music videos anymore. When I asked few people about their choice of boycotting music videos, the answer was similar, “they have gotten trashy”

I do not think these videos leave anything for MTV and other western entertainment outlets, in a way by replicating European music and American styles, Arabic music is in danger of losing its voice. Just in time for Thanksgiving to remind us of things we are Not Thankful for. I will let you be the judge of that by watching those steamy Arabic music videos so enough is said, let the Khazwa begi.

Granted, those are all good looking Arab females.....but the level of their art and music is the one I am questioning.

Sandy the Playgirl

Myriam on a Bike

Elissar wants More? I say I want Less

Picture is taken from Yallatune

Arabic Music Videos I am Not Thankful for

Arabic Music Videos I am Not Thankful for

karaokeIt’s amazing how progressive Arab Music videos have gotten. I am impressed whenever a Westerner sees those music videos, they are shocking by how scandalous they are. Look, I am not complaining, these ladies are good looking and know how to “work” their fans by working what they’ve got it. For this stuff to be shown on public TV during peak time, is a problem. So I guess I wasn’t surprised to see during my my trip to Egypt and Gaza that no one watches music videos anymore. When I asked few people about their choice of boycotting music videos, the answer was similar, “they have gotten trashy”

I do not think these videos leave anything for MTV and other western entertainment outlets, in a way by replicating European music and American styles, Arabic music is in danger of losing its voice. Just in time for Thanksgiving to remind us of things we are Not Thankful for. I will let you be the judge of that by watching those steamy Arabic music videos so enough is said, let the Khazwa begi.

Granted, those are all good looking Arab females.....but the level of their art and music is the one I am questioning.

Sandy the Playgirl

Myriam on a Bike

Elissar wants More? I say I want Less

Picture is taken from Yallatune

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wa'ad's وعد New Dala'a دلع Music Video

Gulfie start Wa'ad "Promise" is out with her latest music video, yes the one she has been talking about for some time now....the Leona Lewis look alike has yet to meet success in the mainstream Arab market, where she lags behind other stars.

To her credit the video is awesome, graphics are cool, and the style is new and especially to the Gulf music genera.

I am not much into the Gulf style music, I do like a large number of them, as they manage to have better lyrics....as residence of the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, UAE) are known to write good poetry and that shows in their songs....BUT, the music is not their best. There is the standard beat you have in most of the Gulf songs, which is really old.

Here is the song, good lyrics, good music video, but the music is old and can be irritating to some.

Rashid Almajid, is one of the few Arab Gulf singers who manged to improve the music in his songs...which explains why he is such a big star that manged to stage an great comeback without changing his dialect. Hussin Aljasmi, rarely does entertaining Gulf style music, he is big in Egypt now.

Wa3d - Dala3 / وعد - دلع 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Melhem Zein Does TV Show Theme Song

Ramadan is few weeks away and with that TV networks gear up for the TV season where people kick back and catch up with their favorite show.....In order to get more publicity for their TV shows, directors often reach out to popular singers to do a theme song for the show....Melhem Zein, the singer that men cannot resist his voice, the one women love his looks and his style, the Super Star runner up and hit maker is doing the theme song for Ahel Al Rayah--the Flag Bearer. The song talks about resilience and greater Syria. Good song, but I could not tell you what the show is about. From the look of it, it seems like a knock off all time popular Syrian TV show Bab Alhara.

You will see more of those theme songs starting to trickle their way into your life. Try to enjoy them as the holy month comes and goes.

Melhem Zein - Ahl El Raye / ملحم زين - اهل الراية

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saad Al Soghayer Likes Big Butts

Here is a promo for a new Egyptian movies that probably won't be winning any award....it is with the famous (mostly in a bad way) Egyptian poor man's singer who stars in big Egyptian wedding, very few people would attend a concert with him, but at weddings he does the job singing for things that tickle the poor man's fancies. Mohammad Alsoghayer is this man.....for this movie he is bringing Egypt's number one belly dancer to shake what her good mother gave her.

The movie trailer for Welad Elbalad is an advertising for the good home boys who like to dance and get high in wedding parties....

Many many Egyptians hate this person and wish to see him vanish as he does nothing but harm to their own image of their country where he shows Egyptian home boys are nothing by dancers, drug dealers and drunk heads..... his new movies does nothing but that. You can hear many sexual references, gestures and a load of sleazy characters that does enough to deter you from visiting Egypt.
But not to worry he has built a mega mosque in Cairo to repent all his sins, the past and the ones this movie will show.

Welad Elbalad dina دينا ولاد البلد

Hamaki, One Arab Pop Star For All Seasons

Hamaki, the larger than life pop star just rel;eased his latest album, his first in two years, I was one of those people who could not wait for this album as Hamaki is one star that has the appeal of Amr Diab, the energy of Tamer Hosny and the creative team of those two combined. He is the guy who respects his fans, the guy who defines cool, who defines hot.....When I first heard his first song Mot3aqid, I was impressed and I knew the album will be a treat for all of his fans and his new converts.

I was able to review the album this morning on my run and I wasn't disappointed in this artist who continue to give us songs with new lyrics, new meanings and mostly new music, the kind that gets you moving....I am sure he will be blazing the rest of the summer with his concerts as we all know he is a best selling artist that packs stadiums of fans who truly care for his music and his style.

I couldn't help but see the cover where Hamaki dedicates this album to his parents....other than mother days, very few Arab singers credit their parents (9 years ago Kathim AlSaher had a wonderful song for his dad) Good move Hamaki! Your album will be around for a while. Unlike other Arab stars Hamaki does not rush to make an album a year...he waits till his songs are listens to, enjoyed....then he shops around for a new album.

Hamaki 2010 Met3a2ad HQ - حماقى 2010 متعقد

If you want to hear more of the album hit this button here

Hamaki 2010 Lessa Betkhaf - حماقى 2010 لسة بتخاف a really touching song from Hamaki's new album, very few young stars can convince you they are really singing from the heart and not becasue their managers tell them to do so. Singing for the one that got away is almost universals, but it seems that Arabs have a harder time moving on...this songs goes to all those

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Adam Brings Out the Drama

Adam, Lebanese singer is actually covering an Egyptian song that will be played in the opening credit for upcoming Ramadan TV show Al'aar "The Shame"

His voice is as you would expect good, delivering a dose of sadness that you would expect from this artist who seems to be defining himself this year, but sticking to one genre.

Adam might as well be my favorite young and upcoming singer, you would not know that, he is very confident and marching toward greatness.

It's really hard for an established Lebanese singer to get a gig in Egypt in this busy season, but Adam did it, perhaps others believe in his talent.

شذى حسون - شو فيه بينك و بينها Shada Hassoun 2010

Shada Hasoun
, Iraqi Moroccan singer is out with a new video to remind you that even Arab girls can be paranoid and obsessed with their loved ones. There are guys who like to stalk girls, and there are insane women who get jealous.

Shada is unique among all the almuns of American idol spin offs, she has been the most successful one. She makes good music, collaborates with big names and the people love her--from Morocco to the Gulf, everyone claims her and she does not disappoint. She had a number of songs in Gulf, Shami, Egyptian dialects and every one of those songs was a hit.

Arab Gulf musicians and lyricists are chasing her to collaborate with her, best Lebanese talent in music production reach out to her...I do not know, but I like this music video, I like the new style and the concept, she even has a new look....I am not too shy to say the only way Shada is going is up.....she just had a concert in Morocco and they wrapped in her Morocco's flag. Of course she has previously been wrapped in Iraqi flag....this is something Arab politicians can only dream of.

Elissa, Wins Yet Another Award

See the performance of Elissa, Lebanese beauty at the World Music Award 2010 where she won their award for the third time which put her at equal footing with Amr Diab, the only other Arab star to win the same award three times.

Many journalists and singers do not care for this award anymore because it has been tainted where rumors and reports of deals under which they are asked to pay a sum of money to win it. This could be true, but we know Rotana, the Arabic music power house loves their star Elissa so much as she sells more albums and concert tickets than many other Arab stars....so she gets what she wants. Also even though her album "
Tsadaq Bmein (2009-present)" was released more than 7 months ago, it is still on top of most Arab music charts.

Watch for the last seconds of the clip, where she gives her speech and thanks her country Lebanon and the beautiful people of it....why not. At least she did not thank the managers that runs Rotana production company. I do not think she thanked the fans....

I think the song she choose to perform is not the best of her album....but heck she looks so good and she knows how to get the audience attention even of those who do not understand a word she is singing.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Eslam: Yet Another Young Egyptian Singer

If your name is Eslam (close enough to Islam) you should not show violence, it's a lose lose case.

Egyptian new singer, one of many if I may say....is out with a new album "I dream with you", Bahlam Ma'ak is promoting his album with a a new music video....I might not think the song is special, but I do know that the music video is cute. The scenes and the acting are both good, you can tell our singer is really good at what he does...he might be a better actor than a singer. But let's see if he will be able to build a broad fan base, you know the kind of fans that go to concerts.

The thing is, there are plenty of young Egyptian singers that have almost identical voices and characters, to name few, Essaf, Haitham Shaker, Haitham Nabil...etc. They are all good looking, but when it comes to their talent I am not sure if it's exceptional.

I give credit to the director for choosing such a beautiful place to film in, I thought Arab singers have filmed pretty much everywhere, but I was wrong.

Good luck Eslam and hope you will be around, I do hope so. At least I think we will see you in an Egyptian movie that tackles issues of concerns to young.

Embrace the sunset shot toward the end of the music video.

Eslam - Bahlam Ma'ak / إسلام - بحلم معاك

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hany Shaker: She is Hot and So Is He

Hani Shaker the legendary Egyptian singer that you, your mother and her mother know is back with a fresh new album, and I liked it a lot actually. Hany Shaker has more than 461 songs in his resume, most of these songs are sad songs that deal with heartbreaks, breakups, and disloyalty....even though the songs are sad, Hani is a happy guy with all the success he has retained for longer that any living Arab singer can boast.

The new album has 14 songs, plenty of themes repeat themselves, but when Hany does it, people do not seem to mind. This is the title song of the album "Ba'adak Maleesh", "after you I got nothing else."

What's the new about this album is the number of musicians, composers, lyricists, and other talented individuals who have brought this work to life to enable Hany to entertain his fans one more time. Hany still looks as young as he has always looked, seriously he never ages and he is not going anywhere so you better give him some credit for not selling out and trying to be some hot new dude with muscles. He still dominates his style and he has been rightfully labeled the prince of Arabic music.

Hany Shaker B3dak Malish new 2010 هانى شاكر - بعدك ماليش

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Black Theema Provokes Sweet Memories

Black Theama, the Egyptian all boy band comes to use from what is know is upper Egypt (the south side) are due to release new album to mark their unique style of singing that is somehow has been foreign to the Arab World where very few bands thrive. Not only does Black Theema have a great band that makes great music to make you fall in love with the places and the people, and bring you some old world warmth.

No, they have not forgotten their roots, see the places where they filmed, see the faces they filmed and you know these guys are proud to be making great music. i only hope that they get more venues and larger audience to deliver their messages about love and people in places that matter the most. And Yes they make you home sick, even thought your country is at war...their music is dangerous in that sense. Here is Bahar (Sailor), their new title song

Black Theama - Bahhar / بلاك تيما - بحار