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Exploring World Music: The Arabic Songs You’re Missing Out On

Personally, I am a huge fan of music. I have been playing both guitar and piano from a really young age. I listen to a wide variety of songs from different genres and time spans, I believe that it is mostly the people around me that left an influence on my broad taste in music.

When we talk about music, we are talking about more than just a beat and some lyrics, we are resembling emotions and feelings, or ideas from different nations and countries. People especially nowadays depend on music as their cure to everything or maybe as their source of motivation, by relating to the lyrics or the beat.

My parents used to play songs from the 80’s ever since I was a child, and so I ended up enjoying listening to songs by Queen, Lionel Richie, Abba and Boney M. Simultaneously, I also enjoyed rock and heavy metal bands, which is very odd if you come to think of it.  I believe that my love for heavy metal was an influence from my cousins, they used to play heavy metal songs on the guitar and I thought it was cool. Next thing you know, I’m Metallica’s number one fan and new songs by Iron maiden, Green Day and Arctic Monkeys were added to my playlist.

Although I am from Jordan so technically an Arab, I never really liked listening to Arabic music because I couldn’t play them on any instruments or analyse their beat.  However, as I grew older, I started to understand that songs are not just random notes with melodies but a culture. This made me recalculate my judgement on Arabic music and it was then that I realised the art behind the beat in Arabic songs. Not being able to analyse the songs so quickly and easily was because a lot of complexity was put and played on rare instruments from the past that only a minority know of. I started to listen to old and new Arabic songs by artists like Joseph Attieh, Joe Ashkar, Omar Abdallat and Cheb Khaled to name a few.

Another thing I discovered about Arabic music was that, it is probably mostly Arabs that have national songs in addition to the countries anthem. For us Jordanians, we have albums from artists across different time periods about Jordan, which is fascinating. These songs represent heritage, culture and traditions with just some lyrics and a beat. Omar Abdallat is one of the most well known Jordanian singers to have sung national songs about the country and the king.

About Rama Bagaeen


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