Review: The Listening Party
Earlier this month, I took part in the first Listening Party hosted by discoballbreaker. It was such a special night and I really hope Simone (aka discoballbreaker) hosts more Listening Parties. There was a great turnout, a crowd that was genuinely interested in music. The experience of sitting in a room and just listening to the participants and their music without any chatting, dancing, moving around made the experience very intimate.
Like I said, it was a very special night, it does't happen very often in Dubai.
All the presenters shared some great and interesting music and I'm hoping Simone will list their music on her site soon. In the meantime, several people got in touch with me asking me to share links to the music I presented that night, so here's my list along with some of my thoughts that I shared with the audience.
Simone asked me to share music from this region for the Listening Party, so I put together a list of music and clips ranging from music from Egyptian films to music from the Gulf region, music I remember watching on TV in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It was a time when families watched TV together, when we had a handul of TV channels with good family entertainment compared to the 1000s of channels we have now but nothing to watch.
Omar Khorshid - Inta Omri (You Are My Life)
I started with Omar Khorshid (I've shared his music on this blog before). If I was a teenager in the 1970s, I am sure my room would've been filled with Omar Khorshid posters. A total heartthrob at the time, he was quite unique at the time with his fusion of music from the East and West with the electric guitar. This piece is called Inta Omri, an electric guitar version of a well known song by Umm Kalthoum.
Aysha Al Martah - Ya Nas Dalooni / عايشة المرطة - يا ناس دلوني
Aysha Al Martah is a Kuwaiti singer who passed away in 1979. She lost her eyesight at the age of seven and started singng since the age of 14. I don't know a lot more about her, but I do recall seeing her on TV and her strong presence. This song is called Ya Nas Dalooni (People, please show me). I chose this song because of the music and also because of its majlis setting, an Arab style salon where there's music, singing and dancing.
The Bandaly Family - Do You Love Me
Al Bandaly Family is a Lebanese family who sang across the Middle East region and even had their own variety show. The song "Do You Love Me" was filmed in Kuwait and I won't say anymore, you just have to watch it to understand why I shared this at the Listening Party.
(This was a huge hit with the crowd at the Listening Party. There were cheers and laughter. To those that recognised it, it brought back memories, to those that heard it for the first time that night, it was a fun and delightful experience for them.)
Sana'a Al Kharaz - Ya Jarati / سناء الخراز - سناء الخراز
This next song is from a musical to honour Kuwait's National Day in in 1979. The song is called Ya Jarati (Oh My Neighbour) and it's about assuring her neighbour that the sailors will be returning home safe and sound and will be greeted as heroes. I shared this song because it's upbeat, colourful and just fun. The girls look real and normal compared to the botoxed singers and dancers on the Arabic music channels TV we see today.
I remember watching this at my Grandparents home and how my Grandmother would always say I should grow my hair so that I can dance like the girls in this clip. (Alas, I'm sure she was disapointed when she realised my hair would grow out to be curly and not the straight/shiny hair she was hoping for.)
Soad Hosni - Ya Wad Ya Te'el / سعاد حسني - ياود يا ثقيل
The last song is from a film called خلي بالك من زوزو / Khali Balak Min Zuzu (Take care of Zuzu). Its sung by the lovely Soad Hosni and it's about her crush (and her professor, which in real life would be totally frowned upon). The song Ya Wad Ya Te'el is basically about a guy who's playing hard to get, who's playing it cool and how the girl wants him to stop being so cold towards her. I used to sing and pretend I was Soad Hosni when I was a child and sometimes even now, this song will play in my head when I have crushes that lead to nowhere.