Posts in Music

Franz keep on rocking!

Ferdinand One piece of good news I’ve heard this week was that Franz Ferdinand released a new album yesterday. According to the reviews on-line, this album is as brilliant as the first one, which I thought was a masterpiece.

On their debut album every song is a hit. I have been listening to it non-stop for the past month. I downloaded the whole album to my Ipod just to make sure Franz’ tunes accompany me wherever I go. Singing along with songs like Take me out, Darts of pleasure, Auf Acshe and Matinee is becoming one of my favorite past times nowadays.

For those not familiar with this Scottish band, all I can say is that if you like British pop, then you will tremendously enjoy Franz’ style. Their music has elements of both 80’s music and contemporary pop. They also remind me of The Strokes, a band that tops my list of favorites. If you enjoy British pop and have some money to spare, then go get these two albums now! Yes, this is an order. They are worth every penny!

Mental Mayhem radio is here!

In a bid to share our favorite music with dear readers of this blog, we created Mental Mayhem Radio, which can be accessed from the top menu bar (or click here!). Click it and it will begin playing a random track. It has around 85 songs so far with more to come late tonight. If you are interested in being entertained while surfing the pages of Mental Mayhem, just press the radio button.

The player is fairly straight forward. There’s a scroll bar to move the list [it’s a bit slow]. The ‘Zap’ button takes you to the next track and there’s volume and pause button at the bottom. On board you’ll find hits by XTC, Fiona Apple, Cat Stevens, Jimmy Buffet, Chris Isaak, Alicia Keys, INXS, Counting Crows, Franz Ferdinand and many more. Just click and enjoy! Happy surfing!

Majida, the Lebanese diva

MajidaLast night, we once again conquered fear of another Doha terrorist attack and made our way to the city’s iconic Sheraton Hotel to see Lebanese singer Majida al-Roumi in concert as part of the Doha Cultural Festival. It was exhilarating. We had a blast! Majida gave a top-notch performance that I will personally remember for years to come. She kicked off her concert by praying for the safety of Qatar, something I found very considerate and unexpected.

Majida performs amid the stunning lightsHer first song was Beirut ma bitmout, or ‘Beirut won’t die.’ She performed it so passionately. It was very touching in light of the political tensions occurring there these last months. The audience — a good portion of whom were Lebanese — clapped and cheered as she sang the lyric calling for the "removal of the foreign hand," which I assumed was a reference to Syrian interference in Lebanon. This is the Middle East, you can never escape politics!

During the two-hour concert, Majida performed a number of masterpieces like Kon Sadeeqi, or ‘Be my friend,’ Kalimat, or ‘Words’ and 3am biesalouni 3aleik el nas, or ‘People are asking me about you.’ [links pull Real Audio feed] I surprised myself by knowing a number of her songs by heart. I guess they were buried there deep down in my subconscious.

Kon Sadeeqi in shaky closeupMajida looked absolutely stunning and performed so elegantly. I can’t believe she is almost fifty. She just looked amazing.

One interesting thing happened during the concert when a group of people that appeared to be Lebanese left the hall running with mobile phone to ear. I figured something must have happened like an explosion. I was right. As we were enjoying our time listening to Majida’s tantalizing voice, a bomb exploded in yet another Christian area in Lebanon. It is very sad indeed. But I quote Majida: Beirut Ma bitmout or Beirut won’t die.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had become over-saturated by the continual playing of the songs of Fairuz, another Lebanese diva. Last night I couldn’t help but wonder why Majida had yet to reach the pinnacle that Fairuz occupies in the hearts and minds of her Arab audience. Majida belongs at the same or even a more elevated position than Fairuz.

All in all, we had a great time! I’m still humming the tunes from the concert. I will definitely make sure to add some of Majida’s albums to our humble music collection very soon.

Zade Dirani plays on

Zade DiraniJordanian composer and pianist Zade Dirani will present his blend of Arabic and Western music to Holland-area audiences at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the historic Park Theatre in downtown Holland. Dirani, 24, has won several prestigious awards and has performed before thousands in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

He studied Eastern Arabic scales and contemporary Western music at the National Music Conservatory in Amman, Jordan, and Berklee College of Music in Boston. At 19, Dirani performed with the Jordanian National Symphony Orchestra and Choir at the ancient citadel in downtown Amman. Since then he has performed before Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth and the British royal family, and other dignitaries

Source: [The Holland Sentinel]

It seems Ziad Dirani continues to go places. Good for him. I remember attending one of his concerts in Amman at the Citadel years ago. I thought then he was pretty good. Sadly enough, you have to leave Jordan in order to make it on the international scene.

The Tynes turntable

The kitchen music station

For some reason, I have not been pursuing music as aggressively as I used to in my earlier years. This might have something to do with a shifting of priorities or maybe it’s just because I feel so uninspired in this country that music has become something of a luxury instead of a necessity. Nowadays, the only time I really get to enjoy music is when I’m in the kitchen making a meal, washing dishes or cleaning up the house.

Here are some snippets of the eclectic mix playing on our kitchen music station:

U2 ~ How to dismantle an atomic bomb: I’m totally digging this album. In this latest work, U2 seems to have re-embraced their earlier style, as this album bears little similarity to their techno-inspired recent work like All that you can’t leave behind or Pop. It is a mix of the old and the new. Great stuff.

Alison Krauss and Union Station ~ Lonely runs both ways: I’m not really a country-music fan, but this one is different. It is what I think of as modern country music. Alison has a tantalizing voice. I’m hooked on her music.

Dave Matthews Band ~ Under the table and dreaming: This is an album that I can never stop listening to. It always enjoys a prestigious place among my music collection. Every track is a delight.

Maroon 5 ~ Songs about Jane: On this, their debut album, this young band made it big simply because their music is so engaging. My favorite is She will be loved.

Peter Cincotti ~ Peter Cincotti: A young jazz singer with lots of potential. He meshes pop with classic jazz tunes. Very enjoyable listening.

Nelly Furtado ~ Folklore: This is the album I go to whenever I’m in a dark state of mind. It is enjoyable, up- beat listening; each song is a treat.

Sarah McLachlan ~ Afterglow: The latest addition to the Tynes collection. It provides soothing songs for the troubled soul.

Sarah McLachlan Surprise

The mysterious arrival of Sarah MI got a nice surprise yesterday in the form of a package from FedEx that was delivered to my workplace. Inside the package was a copy of Sarah McLachlan’s album Afterglow, a CD Ive been wanting for a while now, with an accompanying letter congratulating me for winning the Music Now! competition.

The letter, addressed to me, was from Orbit! To the best of my recollection, I hadn’t participated in any Music Now! or Orbit sponsored competitions, so it took me a few seconds to figure things out. The husband, who is some kind of a pop-culture walking encyclopedia, answered a question featured on the Music Now! channel and gave them my details as the winner so the prize would go to me. It was a nice surprise and a clever one too! I have been listening to her music all the day and it is so soothing!

‘Jo’ features Tariq Nasser

Tariq Nasser on the cover of Jo

I was very glad to find that JO magazine decided to put Jordanian
musician Tariq Nasser on the cover of this month’s issue. It’s about time no? Nasser, founder of Rum musical group, has contributed tremendously to the development of the music scene in the Kingdom. I love his work. This recognition is well deserved.

Fairuz Overload

Fairuz: When we loved each other so muchWe had an enjoyable evening last night. Amal came over and we cooked a Chinese dish with cashew nuts for dinner along with some banana bread for dessert. They both turned out very well. Following our brief dinner, we watched a Dutch documentary entitled Fairuz, We Hielden Zoveel Van Mekaar, or "Fairuz: When we loved each other so much." The documentary, which Amal worked on as a field producer, examines the Lebanese infatuation with the diva Fairuz, explaining how she provided the soundtrack to the lives of so many Lebanese during the civil war that shattered that country’s soul.

Those interviewed talked passionately about their attachment to Fairuz songs and how she helped shape their emotions and nationalism while growing up in a war weary world.

Fairuz in profileNaturally, the soundtrack of the movie was Fairuz songs, which did make enjoyable listening. But after watching the documentary I felt the urge to bring up a controversial topic in these parts: Fairuz overexposure. I know this might offend the many ardent Fairuz fans out there, but I really have had enough of her. Wherever you go — at least in Jordan — a sampling of Fairuz melodies is required. You hear her everywhere and I mean everywhere: The bus, the cab, on national TV, all radio stations, even your neighbor’s CD player.

When it is Christmas, we hear Fairuz singing Laileh Eid or "A festive night." When it it is snowing she chants Talj, Talj or "snow snow." When there is a Palestinian solidarity campaign we hear Ya qudos or "Oh, Jerusalem." There is a Fairuz song to suit every occasion.

It is just too much! I know most of her songs by heart but sometimes I wish they would just stop playing them! I don’t hate her beautiful melodies or her tantalizing voice; don’t get me wrong. I’m just suffering from Fairuz overload! I cannot allow myself to hear her songs anymore. I have had it! Enough!! It is about time for a new diva to step into the limelight.

Ok. I’m finished venting. Attack me if you will 😉

The soundtrack of my adolescent years

Ahmad Humeid wrote a very nice piece in the Jordan Times about the advent of private English radio stations in the kingdom. He also suggested ways to improve long-standing Jordan Radio’s English language FM station. It is worth your time to take a look.

On the same note, the mere idea of flipping through radio channels while in Jordan will be a novel one for me, as the English FM station had always been my only choice of audio entertainment.

For me, part of growing up in Jordan was spending hours listening to pop tunes on Radio Jordan alongside the ramblings of the loud, obnoxious DJs. Those were fun days. There is no doubt that the music of Radio Jordan FM was the soundtrack of my adolescent life. I do not think I can give it up, despite the advent of these alternative choices.