11 February 2015

Lebanon #1: It's all fun and games...

Today this blog is heading to Middle East for some music from Lebanon.

Wikipedia: Lebanon

I don't know why, but somehow it feels like it has taken forever for this post's turn to come up. I have had this post planned for a while now, but I don't think it has been much longer than my posts usual. Maybe I am just more excited than usual to write about these songs?

Let's start with Nancy Ajram. When I first started to look into Lebanese music, Nancy Ajram was the name that first came up. She was described as one of the most famous artists in Lebanon and a superstar beyond her homeland. I of course wanted to check her out and sure enough fell in love with her music right away.

Nancy released her first album, Mihtagalak, already in 1998. Since then she has become one of the most successful artists in the entire Arab world. Her eight studio album was released last year and she has also released two albums for children, within whom also she has a large fan base. She is also a face of Coca-Cola, a position which usually goes to only super-famous celebrities.

The song above is called ما تيجي هنا /Ma Tegi Hena, which according to a one lyrics translation (I make no promises about the rightfulness since I don't speak a single word of Arabic) means Why Don't You Come Here. Google Translate translates it into The Crow Flies Here, but for me to first translation seems more realistic...

Anyways, about the song itself. I find this song very catchy and very funny. In my opinion there is a strong Arabic sound, which I really like. It sounds very exotic to me. This song makes me want to dance and I don't usually like dancing. I also love the music video. It is very funny and I really like when the storyline of the video is uncommon. With the song, the video makes really nice impression. Though I don't support messing with the law. ;)

One of the other Nancy's songs that I love is called ماشى حدى /Mashy Haddy (also can be written Mashi Haddi). Some lyrics translations translate this as Walking Next To Me. The lyrics tell about the singer's boyfriend flirting with every girl walking by, but getting jealous when the singer talks the men. I find this song too very funny sounding. It sounds very positive even though the lyrics are not all that happy.

The sound of the song is cute, but somewhat exotic too (for a non-Arabic listener at least). I find it soft, but also catchy. And Nancy's voice sounds very sweet here. The music video is also nice. It is funny and I really love the colour scheme. What I like the most is that it seems the be telling the story of the song (not a certainty). So, even though I don't understand the lyrics, I can understand the story of the song by watching the music video. Very nice.

Nancy Ajram has been rising towards my top favourite artists. I love her music and singing. And I also love her music videos, which usually seem to have a nice storyline and an interesting scenery.

Ma Tegi Hena was the lead single from Nancy album Nancy 8, which was released last year. Mashy Haddy was released in 2009 as a final single from Nancy's 2008 album Betfakar Fi Eih.

Next up is a singer called Haifa Wehbe. She is described as being known for her sexy and provocative image, which is considered even scandalous in some parts of the Arab world. Haifa's first studio album was released in 2002 and she has highly successful. She is one of the most successful singers in Lebanon.

The song above is called بوس الواوا /Boos El Wawa, which seems to mean Kiss The Owie. When I first heard this song I couldn't help but think that she was singing about babies. Wawa sounds like the Finnish word for a baby (vauva) and seeing the music video didn't help this image. I have not read the lyrics, but the title fits my mental image too, so I think I will go ahead thinking she is singing about babies. The song does seem to be a bit child-like anyway.

For me this song sounds very funny and positive. It is kinda sweet and cute, but it also has that Arabic sound in it. The chorus very easily sticks to my head and the rest of the song is also catchy. I find this song a lot of fun.

This other song from Haifa is called ازاي انساك /Ezzay Ansak, which according to Google Translate means How Can I Forget You?. This song is quite different from the previous one.

Firstly I really love the beat and music of this song. It is very similar to western electronic music, but at least in my opinion it has something Arabic in it. Besides loving the music, I really love Haifa's singing here. For me the song, especially the chorus, sounds very touching, thanks to Haifa's way of singing it. Overall I get a bit dark and sad feeling of this song.

I also like the music video (though, once again, I do not support messing with the law). I am not sure if it fits this song very well, since I'd expect something more touching. But a nice video anyhow.

Boos El Wawa was released as a a single in 2006 and was used in a Pepsi commercial, but I can not find clear info on what album it has been released on (if any). Ezzay Ansak is more recent single from Waifa's 2012 album Malikat Jamal Al Kawn.

Last, but definitely not least: Myriam Fares. She seems to be quite famous too in the Arabic world. She has been active in music industry since 2003. The song above is called إية اللى بيحصل /Eih Elly Byehsal. According to a one translation, the title means What's Going On.

I do not think I have ever used this term before, but now I will: This song has recently been my jam. I can't even imagine how many times I have listened this song in the past few weeks. I sometimes get really, I mean REALLY, into some songs and this has been that kind of song. I can not even exaggerate how much I have been loving this song lately!

The lyrics seem to be telling about the singer falling in love and being a bit confused. I really love Myriam's voice and how she sings here. The music is also totally amazing. I really love this kind of music and with Myriam's vocals it just becomes simply amazing. The music is very dancy and incredibly catchy. Something about this song, particularly about the chorus, hits me very deeply. The combination of different factors in this song is simply awesome.

Eih Elly Byehsal is definitely my favourite song of the beginning of 2015. The song was released as a single from Myriam's 2008 album Bet'oul Eih.

[ps. Arabic can be transliterated in different ways, so some of these song names can be written differently in different places. I checked the transliterations for the names of the artist from their official sites.]

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