Sunday, October 27, 2013

Arab a capella


Well, I was going to post some pictures of pumpkins from the lovely autumn fête at Coëtmieux where Lyse lives, but then I watched Euronews, and they showed some clips from this video, a version of Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry made relevant for a Saudi Arabian audience: No Woman No Drive.  I looked it up on Youtube, finding myself to be the one million, two hundred thousand-and-something-th person to do so (a couple of hundred thousand more have done so since, as I write).  It made me laugh quite a bit, but I also thought that the chap doing it had rather a lot of charm and talent.  He turns out to be Alaa Wardi (the Saudi ingénue character on the video is part of the spoof, though not many of the commenters there seemed to grasp this), and I spent the time I could have been editing pumpkin photos watching and listening to more of his videos.  He's Persian born, lives in Saudi Arabia, has studies and records in Jordan,and is very popular in India where his maternal uncle runs a restaurant. His music is a wide ranging mixture from Middle Eastern standards, Bollywood songs, soft western-style pop, even a Pink Floyd and a Radiohead cover, a tune played very cleverly, hilariously but also melodiously on Vimto bottles, (with a bonus video where you do this yourself) and his own compositions, some with backing musicians - his band, Hayajan and others, on one song his grandfather plays the violin - and singing in Arabic, English and Hindi, where it seems his diction and expression are remarkably good for a non-native speaker.

Best of all though, for me, are his a capella numbers.  I found it hard to choose between these to post here, but decided on this one because the song sounds lovely but also because of how it breaks down all the parts and shows him making all the sounds and voices, and the quirky names he gives them.




I have to say I was delightedly astonished that anything so joyous, humorous and life-affirming could come out of Saudi Arabia (be my guest to berate me for cultural prejudice), though judging by this one which has a refrain which the subtitles translate as 'for god's sake get me a visa before I go crazy' he might have reservations about the matter himself (it's hard to say, I think it might be another parody of a certain kind of traditional Arabic popular song, it sounds fairly deliberately awful).  There's also this very funny little animation where he introduces himself, telling his story and asking for support, since the independent, on-line route is really the only way for original people like him to make their way in the world. I should imagine he'll probably do all right now, I hope so.

So pumpkins will have to wait until tomorrow, that's if we have any power or any internet.  The storm and gale warnings are so dire for tonight that we've decided to sleep downstairs, where at least we won't hear quite so much of it.

8 comments:

polish chick said...

stay warm, dear lucy, and i shall attempt to do the same as we're currently getting snowed under. too soon, it comes too soon!

The Crow said...

I was number 1,688,598 - loved it!

Zhoen said...

Thankfully, humor runs strong in the human genome. The harsher the circumstances, the more stubborn it is to crack jokes.

Lucy said...

Cheers, people.

The storm wasn't as bad as predicted, a smallish branch down in the road outside was all, it didn't touch the house. We decided to stay upstairs anyway and weren't much disturbed.

christopher said...

Oh Lucy, thank you for this. I love a cappella choral sounds. You may remember a few years back I was in a specialty chorale concentrating on Estonian choral music. I think this guy is a genius.

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

He is very truly talented. Thanks for the introduction, Lucy. His style makes me think of Bobby McFerrin and also of the group "Straight, No Chaser".

zephyr said...

Delightful!
And glad to hear the storm was not an angry, destructive one for you.

Ellena said...

Thanks for sharing Alaa with us. No woman no drive is now up to 6,119,813.
Listened to many more and wish I understood Arabic.