Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

TV is Reality

The Japanese have always been infamous for their television shows. But this cartoon using a mashup of electro beats to assimilate a Daft Punk – like song seems to hit the new Reality TV phenomena right on the head.

The illustrations can be interpreted as the influence of mass media over society. While media continues to dominate our world, aspects depicted on the television screen suddenly are copied out in real life. The end result is a postmodernist world; where violence is desensitized, where media is all inter-related, everyone is connected, consumerism makes us greedy and television has a pro-war asthetic.

The cartoon ends in chaos with a telly placed ontop of the rubble. Quite significant, isn’t it?

Omar Offendum Hip Hop Version of the Traditional Arab Song “Quari’at Al-Fingan”

Syrian-American rapper Omar Offendum has recorded his own Hip Hop version of the classic song “Qari’at Al-Fingan” (“The Coffee Cup Fortune Teller”) by Abdul Halim Hafez عبد الحليم حافظ. The song was originally recorded by Hafez in the 60s to a famous poem by Nizar Qabbani by the same title in which a female fortune teller sits with a young man and reads his freshly consumed coffee cup, revealing the most intimate details about his life, past and present.

Omar Offensdum keeps/recites the lyrics in Arabic at the beginning of his version but soon moves into an amazingly lyrical English translation of the poem with a great beat. The song can be found on Omar Offendum’s brand new album “Syrianamericana” (a name which clearly underlines the contamination of American pop culture with the Arab one).

Here is the original song as performed in concert by Abdel Halim Hafez on TV, followed by Omar Offedum’s song “Fingan”.

-Lara Bonalume-

A Man Like Putin

Political songs supporting party representatives are no foreign concept now-a-days. They will be played as background music to political propaganda and be heard at political rallies. But there is one song that has transcended the political arena and into popular culture…

A Man Like Putin” is Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin’s, political song  –  and it’s being played at the discos.

Not only had the song made it’s way to the Russian pop charts but in 2009 it made it’s way into the Eurovision contest – a musical competition held every year with musicians from the European Union. A Georgian band modified the lyrics of Putin’s song to “We don’t wanna put in, the negative move, it’s killin’ the groove” making a play of words with the Prime Minister’s name whilst keeping the song’s original rhythm. The song was banned from the contest because of it’s political implications (BBC).

Putin’s song isn’t the only political song magnifying it’s subject into stardom – there has been similar songs done for Barack Obama (Yes We Can) and for Silvio Berlusconi (Meno male che Silvio c’e). In Obama’s case it was said that the President of the USA didn’t have any direct involvement with it’s production (NYTimes), whereas Putin and Berlusconi did (La Repubblica).

Still this new form of promoting political figures makes one wonder…is the line blurring between stardom and politics? And how will this affect global views of a government’s leading official?

-by: AlexKC

Sout Al Horeya-“The Voice of Freedom”

For almost a month the world has tuned in to the revolutionary action of the Egyptian people as they joined together to protest against the autocratic rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak. For some of us, this is our first time witnessing a revolution even if from the confines of our television and laptop screens. For us outsiders, this revolution is a culmination of far removed images and videos that may or may not stir up an emotional response. For the Egyptian people, living through the fear, anxiety and exhilaration of a revolution is a cause for celebration.

A group of Egyptian musicians have taken that celebration to the center of Cairo, in Tahrir Square, the backdrop to their music video for Sout Al Horeya “The Voice of Freedom”. Amir Eid, one of the vocalists and writers of the song says, “I think this is the song of the revolution. I am so proud that we made this song about our country with our people, and I hope we can make another one in the future.”

The music video was shot during the protests and violent struggles that occurred during the early stages of the revolution. As a current viral hit, the video communicates the real-life turmoil as it occurred within the streets of Cairo. By incorporating the reality of the protests, the music video not only offers a first person narration to the rest of the world but also displays the voice that has been renewed to the Egyptian people, one of strength, perseverance and of freedom.

Life After Afghan Star- Setara


Viewing Afghan Star allowed me to realize the extent to which the Afghan people are limited in their freedoms and to reflect on how privileged I am everyday for such minor things that I take for granted. I cannot imagine having aspects of my life such as clothing, television, or music taken out of my control. I never truly understood the seriousness of this matter until seeing how enraged people became when Setara went against what was accepted and appropriate, by dancing on stage. The true eye-opener was the fact that her “dancing” was basically just some slight movements around the stage. This was so innocent in comparison to the dancing one would see at a club here in Rome, in NY where I’m from, or Ann Arbor where I go to school. When the Afghan people to become so infuriated with hatred towards Setara it made me wonder how they would react to seeing people dancing in the way that is socially normal in the reality I live in. The documentary ended with us knowing the Setara’s life was seriously in danger and I was curious to know how her life has been since Afghan Star. I found an HBO documentary, “Silencing The Song: An Afghan Fallen Star”, which focuses on Setara’s life following Afghan Star. While the movie is not available for viewing on the HBO website outside of the US, the synopsis section gives a nice overview on major events in her life since the show. It is comforting to know that she has moved on in a way by starting a family, but it’s very unsettling that her life continues to be in danger and probably always will be.

Idol TV show contestant unites war-weary Iraqis

In 2007, Shada Hassoon, was a charismatic and talented 26-year-old singer, who was doing for Iraq what politicians in that war-torn country have failed to do: unite the nation.
Shada Hassoon was a contestant representing Iraq on LBC’s “Star Academy,” a televised entertainment competition from Lebanon similar to “American Idol.”

“I wish upon all Iraqis abroad and inside Iraq to vote for Shada, and I wish that all of them unite, and I would like to say one word to the Arabs and the entire world that Iraqis are brethren no matter what sect or confession they belong to,” the writer added.

“We voted for Shada without asking if she were a Shiite or a Sunni,” Hicham Mahmoud Alaazami said on the Al-Arabiya Web site. “We voted for her just because she is an Iraqi.”

I think this story is similar to Afghan Star because like the Afghans, war torn Iraqis united for the sake of music. Divided Muslims came together and voted for Shada, not caring whether she was Sunni or Shiite.

posted by Rola Absi

Sexy Politics in Indonesia

What happened when Indonesian-born and European-raised sexy pop star Julia Perez decided to enter politics?

From the New York Times:

” In a society increasingly polarized between supporters of political Islam and Western-style openness, Ms. Perez has led the charge one way with her sexy shows and music videos, her celebration of female sexuality and frank talk about sex. Her best-selling album, “Kamasutra,” included a free condom, which drew the ire of Islamic organizations and got her banned from performing in several cities outside Jakarta, the capital.”

Youtube video of a Julia Perez song: