Shia Girls Singing Christmas Carols in Lebanese Church

A message from this past Christmas, from Lebanon: here’s a video of Shia orphan girls performing Christmas carols in the Saint-Elie church in Beirut.

Happy coexistence everyone, enjoy the music!

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A Kurdish Comedian’s Support for the Peshmerga Troops

Kurdish-American comedian Kurdish Vines is supporting the Kurdish security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, in their battles with Islamic State, by recording a rap video in support of the Peshmerga troops back home. Have a look.

Alfarra Ft. Sami Bakheet: Refugee, Official Video with Lyrics

From the artist Alfa in Gaza, together with the rapper Sami Bakheet, who usually plays in Darg Team, here is the song “Refugee”.

The lyrics are on how the journey begins in Gaza, and where it ends. The reasons you have for leaving Gaza in the first place, until you meet reality.

Even if you don’t understand Arabic, I still hope you find the song nice to listen to.

Update August 5:

You can now read the subtitles in English if you click “settings” -> “subtitles” on the Youtube clip.

“Dream of Dawn” – Music Video from Gaza

To all music lovers: the Gaza group Typo Band’s song “Dream of Dawn”, in Arabic with subtitles in English. Watch the beautiful footage in the video, hear the song and in case you don’t speak Arabic, read the poetic lyrics as you listen.

Change the common concept of love and freedom

Don’t leave it the way it is

Write on people’s hearts: ‘I exist’

Tear the fear out of their souls with your kind look

Write on people’s hearts: ‘I exist’

Saudi Arabian Rap Video for Workers’ Rights

Saudi Arabia is not known for respecting human rights, and the current campaign for releasing the liberal Saudi blogger Raif Bedawi has shed light on the old phenomena of human rights abuses in the Gulf. But, like everywhere, there are exceptions to the rule.

The media group Tefaz 11 has produced a rap video shedding light on the situationen for foreign workers in the country, using the traditional tactics of humour and music to get their message through. The group is produced for Saudis, consisting of Saudis, showing that there is a diversity within Saudi Arabia and that everyone in the country does not support the discrimination that foreign workers are going though – or the human rights situationen as a whole.

See the video above, and below is a BBC clip portraying the people behind the video.

Old Iraqi Photos

A Facebookpage that I follow is dedicated to show the world the old Iraq and regularly posts photos of a country many didn’t know exists. This is how the Rare Iraqi Pics page describes itself:

“Nostalgia is the only balm when we grow older… We miss our beginning as we approach the end.”

The page is popular, it has almost 40.000 followers, but the updates and descriptions are done in Arabic so many Westerners might not come across the page so easily. Therefore I decided to write about the page and share some of their photos with translations in English, with you.

Eid Mosul

Eid in Mosul, Northern Iraq, one of the cities now under control of ISIS, 1976

Tigris river

Tigris river, Baghdad. Year is unknown but the card is printed in 1955

seta

Seta Hagopian, Armenian-Iraqi singer, the photo is probably from early 1970s. Seta Hagopian was one of the first singers to combine old Iraqi songs with Western instruments. She’s still active and lives in Qatar and Canada since the late 1990s. You can find her MySpace page here.

fashin shoot

Fashion shoot in the marshes, a wetland area in Southern Iraq, 1974

Photo credits: Rare Iraqi Pics Facebook community

Arab Idol 2013

Arab IdolI’m a huge Nancy Ajram fan so when Arab Idol started broadcasting and she was in the jury, I was really happy. Ever since the Lebanese number one’s smash hit Ah wa noss in 2004, I’ve forced people to perform singalong to her songs in parties.

In Arab Idol 2013 young boys and girls from all over the Arab World compete about the prestigous award, and traditional music blend with modern pop. A young girl performs a song to her hometown Agadir, Morocco in a wailing voice; a Tunisian boy sings accompanied by traditional bells.

In one episode a girl and a boy from Iraqi Kurdistan perfoms a song each in Arabic, obviously not their mother tounge – especially the girl speaks broken Arabic. When presenting themselves the young boy say they are from “Northern Iraq”, probably to avoid tensions since many Arab states doesn’t accept the independent region of Kurdistan. The jury positively encourages the two, and they move on to the next level of the audition, have a look:

What I really like with Arab Idol is not only Nancy Ajram, it’s the kind and polite way the judges treat the participants. Many talent shows makes a point out of humiliating the participants – Arab Idol is not one of them. I also like how the show makes people from all of the MIddle East unite, despite ongoing political conflicts. Music has a way of bringing people together, and Arab Idol takes the much used concept of talent shows to a new and higher level.

Photo credit: http://www.mbc.net