Although I was in Beirut six months ago, but I do miss this amazing city. There is something about this place that always makes me want to come back no matter how often I visit it. Soldier is full of Saudis these days, as it is always during the summer, but this is not the reason why I was missing Beirut today. The reason was this blogpost by Susannah Tarbush where she reported on Zeid Hamdan and his effort to create an alternative music scene in Lebanon.
In December 2008 I had a chance to attend one of his shows with Hiba Mansouri, who actually left a nice comment on my post last year. I recorded a couple of videos during that night, and I thought I’d share one of them with you here. In the video you can hear Hiba sings Ahwak, which an old song by Fairouz, and next to her you can see Zeid playing the guitar and fiddling with his laptop. Good times.
Okay, so here are three videos that have been making the rounds on the local interwebs lately:
This is a commercial for the Saudi teleco giant Mobily. As with most of their ads, it is of high production quality. But that’s not what make it interesting. What makes it interesting is the fact that it stars Prince Abdullah bin Meteb, the grandson of King Abdullah. This is the first time a prince appears in a commercial, and some people think such thing signifies a change in the way members of the Saudi royal family conduct themselves. I don’t know. I mean, can’t this be just a sports sponsorship deal? Prince Abdullah is a professional rider who could use a sponsor for such an expensive career, and Mobily is a for-profit company who wants to improve their image and make more money. I, for one, did not raise an eyebrow when I saw the tv ad.
In this video, a man who allegedly belongs to the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, is seen ambushing a jalsa which is basically a small gathering where people entertain themselves with music and dancing. The bearded man snatches the oud from the singer’s lap with a swift move, and then smashed it to the ground in a scene more commonly associated with rock concerts. So much for calling to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.
The Cube is a popular British game show. For some reason, the Saudi state TV thought it was a good idea to bring it to their screen. The Saudi version is the same as the British one, except that our version has a nutty host who keeps on screaming. This video was put together by fellow blogger Raed al-Saeed, who previously produced Schism and Why Gaza children don’t deserve to be killed. I wonder if what he did is legal under the new e-media law proposed by MOCI :P
CITC has blocked islamlight.net, the website which hosted the infamous fatwa by Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak. Although the fatwa can be considered hate speech and a call to violence, I’m generally against such censorship. CITC should stop this practice of making decisions on our behalf on what we should, or rather should not, read on the web.
Corinne Martin is an artist who lives in Saudi Arabia and makes these awesome paintings based on vintage pop culture icons.
Music concerts are rare in this country. Music concerts in universities are super rare. But hey, what do you know? Jeddah Legends, the band of which Qusay is the lead singer, have recently performed a concert in KAUST. Why oh why KSU never hosted any concerts?
Okay okay, I know I’m late to the party but I’m finally back. I will post my thoughts on the government reshuffle later today, but for now I want you to listen to this song from my friend Thamer, the hip-hop artist from Jeddah. He left Dark2Men and started his own band, called ReD CoasT. Here’s their debut track, titled Fawdah: