Thursday, May 18, 2006

Deconstructing Classical Arabic Music...

For as long as I can remember, music was always omnipresent in our dwelling... My parents, without having any musical education or background, were continuously listening to music. They always tried to involve my sister and myself in their pleasant, intimate, simple “social/familial” ritual (singing along, or dancing around to the tunes and melodies).

I grew up listening to Classical Arabic music, and of course, as a particularly curious boy, I constantly asked annoying questions... Questions that were really impossible for my parents to answer and explain:
- What is a "mouwwel"?

- Why do they have to sing it before the song, can't they start singing right away?
- Why does the music slow down and then goes fast again?
- Why do they repeat the same word and sentence over and over again?
- Why are the songs too long?
- Are they sad?

- What is she singing about?
- What does it mean when they say "...."?

All these were legitimate questions for a ten year old to ask. But the question I posed that baffled me most, and actually still does is:
- Why is this man singing to another man? (or at least so I thought)

The "loved one" (al Habib),
for the sole purpose of language, and in order to maintain the structure and the rhythm of the verse in a poem, is used for both male and female subjects (to the discretion of the poet). Therefore, in a dogmatic society where homosexuality is strongly frowned upon, any Man can sing to another Man the most expressive of love songs, and still the crowd exalts in ecstasy: "ALLAH!"

Hypocrisy again?

Music reconciles, and breaks all rules… it is therapy…

photo source:


At 1:52 AM, Blogger Clauds said...

3 cheers for the therapy of music.
No matter the language or origins, music can warm the heart, cleanse the soul, free the mind,make u boogie with delight, make u laugh, cry, shout, sing. there are huge venting la musica!

At 5:32 AM, Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

Very well said.

I had those same questions growing up. Actually, I still have those questions now. Meanwhile, hypocrisy lives on, and we battle it....

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Heath said...

i want to see your erotic voyeuristic bush

At 1:45 PM, Blogger _z. said...

ehemm... yes heather I will soon post something about the erotic voyeuristic "garden" I designed...
a post on Jardin Nu comme "vert" will come shortly.


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