I must admit, I don’t really like many Egyptian pop singers, maybe it’s the dialect and the fact that I focused more on Levantine and could understand Levantine songs more than I could Egyptian ones even before I started learning Arabic, but Amr Diab just doesn’t do it for me, don’t know why. (although I there are plenty of Arabs from other countries who sing in teh Egyptian dialect… but I like them just fine… oh well) But you know who does? Hamza Namira. I am in love with this man now.
Due to provenance, I got a call from an old acqaitance two weeks ago, inviting me to his concert, I was totally down. At the time I only knew one song of his, but liked the song a lot:
We had a pseudoe Egyptian Arabic crash-course during the summer, nothing particularly useful, just one hour a week. But this song was one of the song the teacher taught, and I loved how the video has all the other translations.
Anywhoo, the concert was فزيعة (fantastic) I got to hear a lot more of his songs nd realized that I really like his stuff. Namira doesn’t really sing about love (not those sappy love songs anyway) he talks about abstract but beautiful things like the beauty that lies in everyone (as in his song, Insan, above), the beauty of faith in God and trying to live by his precepts (as in his song “ala bab Allah” below:
I won’t translate it all, not right now anyway but it starts out
“At God’s door, satisfied in every cirmcumstance
At God’s door, carrying everything in my heart
Don’t get accustomed to leaving a place for hatred
Don’t get accustomed to seeing anything except beauty in others”
of course this is a very rough translation…
But then he’s also funny as in this song “ya Hana” about the problems in the Egyptian education system:
It starts out “who says the education system in our country is oudated? no! we’re just fine… I swear” and then it goes on to describe the different problems in a very fun and satirical way.
It’s times like this that I appreciate this opportunity. For one thing Hamza Namira is coming back to Alexandria next month and Inshallah I will see him again (he tickets as so cheap! about 4 bucks, I’m sure if he comes to the States it will cost a heck of a lot more).. But more importantly I think about how studying a language has opened so many different opportunities to be exposed to a culture and understand it, and love aspects of it, that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ll never be Egyptian, but I’m happy to understand certain cultural nuances in a way that I would never have had I not come here, had I not studied Arabic. and on that note, I will stop procrastinating and get some work done.