Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank you for the music

I am a bit obsessed with Arabic music and food as well as Indian, so I was really looking forward to sampling both delights on last week’s impromptu trip to Dubai. As far as the music goes, I’ve had a healthy obsession for Asian music of any kind, ever since I was a WASPy kid in the suburbs of Ontario. Sunday mornings would find me entranced in front of the TV, watching shows like ‘Asian Horizons’ that would showcase Indian movies and live musical performances. The sound grated on my parents’ nerves but enthralled me from the first time. When I first heard Im Nin Alu by Ofra Haza as a teen I realized that music from the Middle East was something I loved.

It was soon mixed into numerous dance and extended mixes, and finally featured on American rap team Eric B. and Rakim's 80's hit 'Paid in Full'.

Middle Eastern music has been making it's way into mainstream pop music ever since...

Anyway, I'm sure my grouping of Israeli, Arabic and Indian music into the same category would have some people writhing at my stupidity - not to mention the political implications, but hey. I am am who I am, and in my little mind these musics are grouped together, and I love them all. There is also an undeniable history that links them...

All these years later, during the ‘courting’ year with JW, realising he had the same feeling about this music was one of those moments where you click on a deeper level. One of those - it was meant to be - feelings. I'm almost sure we are one of the only non-Arabic couples with the full discography of Amr Diab... We’ve built up quite a collection since then, and love to listen to the eery, powerful songs at full blast while driving, or on the house stereo on Saturday afternoons, with the walls shaking and no doubt the neighbors perplexed. It’s a good thing we have a big yard with high walls. Sometimes JW’s music fetish overcomes him at 1am and it’s time for stereo full blast… but I digress.

Dubai. We got the chance to hear Indian dance music because I booked us at a restaurant that promised a ‘conversion into a nightclub’ at 11pm, with the DJ playing Asian dance hits. We ate at 10pm (as most people do in Dubai) and stayed till 2am. We were the only non-Indians in the house and the house was ‘pumpin’ (as they say). It was excellent. Made me feel alive and possibly 21…

The next night was Valentines Day and we really got our fill. We stumbled upon a live Arabic band at a private party and managed to soak in about an hour of the performance before they packed it in. This was after a romantic supper in a restaurant/sports bar that featured an England-Wales rugby match (yippee – NOT), followed by a live trio of Brit girls singing pop love songs…We ended up doing the nightclub circuit, along with a few hundred others, and felt our hearts pounding to the Arabic/techno mixes. We left at 3am, only because the lights came on and the crowds were ushered out. We didn’t even embarrass ourselves the whole night… well except maybe the time I asked the DJ to play my newest obsession - Paper Planes by M.I.A. from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack –

and proceeded to punch my arms in the air, squeeze my eyese shut and nod incessantly in true comraderie… only to open my eyes near the end of the song (and my rapture), and peer around at the entire crowd, who had not known the song, and abandoned the dancefloor, and were now just looking at me with odd curiosity…

The truth is - I don’t want to get old. Actually, when it comes to music I don’t think I have the capacity. It’s one of those things in life I cling to so I can feel connected, alive, in touch with the rhythm of the world.

We got back to Ghana with a new found enthusiasm for music. I LOVE MUSIC! It gives me energy and always has the ability to make a bad day great, a down mood deep, and take me from bored to inspired. So thank you for the music Dubai. For giving it to me.
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Anonymous said...

See if you like Sunshowers by M.I.A

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Hi Holli,

I do agree, music IS rejuvenating. I just got two Putomayo records, one that is called African Women and one is called Brazilian Lounge. I highly recommend both of them. Putomayo records put together CDs that makes life better or "a bad day great" as you write! See my post on salsa for more one the very same subject!

MKM said...

Hi! LOVE this post - for many reasons, but mostly because I relate to *your* love of music. Also, thanks for posting the videos; you've converted me to a new music genre(s).

So jealous of your trip to Dubai!

Melissa from Expatriate Games~

sapna said...

Hey i love the videos you have shared. Really nice videos.
holi gift

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