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The World Of Westernized Arabic Music

Marhaba fi Masah al Khair! Hello and good afternoon to everyone on Stir-Crazy International! Shauchan here! I haven’t posted something in a while now, mainly because of college work! Sorry to leave you guys hanging!

But now I am here… to tell you a few things about several Arab artists that play westernized Arabic music!

The olden variant of Arabic music, still used by numerous artists, contains the use of instruments such as the darabuka (or tabla, mainly known as a goblet drum), the oud (a pear-shaped stringed instrument), the violin (in great use nowadays, but was technically introduced during the 1840s and 1850s into the field of Arabic music) and the raq (the Arab variant of a tambourine). The unison of use of these instruments is quite euphonious and set  a standard of a totally unique genre of music.

Being a recent fan of Arabic music, I have come to find a great barrier amongst the modern divas and olden (and still living) kings and queens of Arabic music to be quite large. As many of you fans may known know the kings and queens of contemporary Arabic music to be Fairuz of Lebanon, Sabah of Lebanon, Sabah Fakhri of Syria, Warda of Algeria and other aging yet angelic artists. Their use of traditional instrument to create symphonies and their sense of great strength in their voices make each of their pieces of music great and, to some extent, very catchy as well.  This traditional tone and sound of old Arabic music is what fortifies the art of belly dancing to involve each and every movement to be synchronized with every hit on the raq and darabuka, making it a unique dance form and a very musically-based one as well.

A great piece of music that resembles the traditional sounds of original Arabic music would be this piece by Sabah Fakhri of Syria. His Mawal Layali is intense in sound, catchy in tonal patterns and very strong in performance.

With great reverence, the original  foundation of this music is still ingrained into the modernized Arabic music of the 21st century.

Asalah Nasri

Syrian Artist Asalah Nasri

The modern artists of Arabic music, have come to receive greater influence from the West (Europe and the US) in their music. Genres of American and European music, such at R&B, Reggae, Hip Hop, and Rock can now be greatly found in many new compositions of many new, and even, old artists. The mix of antique vocals and modernized musical genres have actually made great songs!

Some of the many artists that keep to tradition, yet still produce good modern hits, are Nancy Ajram of Lebanon, Haifa Wehbe of Lebanon, Amr Diab of Egypt, and Cheb Khaled of Algeria. one of my more favorite artists, that is more modern nowadays and is VERY popular, is the beautiful Asalah Nasri of Syria. Beautiful, almost royal looking, and one of the greatest voices in modern Arabic music.  (See more about her below.)

An example of the conservatism of the traditional tone of Arabic music is found in the song Sheil Ayounik Anni by Nancy Ajram

As you can see, there is a slight modernization from the clothing they are wearing, considering the video was made earlier this decade, but the wonderful tones of the olden styles of Arabic music are still heavily prominent.

A song that shows the modernization of music, style and look is a song by Haifa Wehbe called Mosh Adra Astana.

This is modern in almost every way, though there is a use of the darabuka prominent in the general beat of the song!

One final example, that shows a general mix, is by my habibi, or beloved, Asalah Nasri.  As you’ll notice in her live performance of the song Tawek ‘Ala Bali, she is abiding to the concepts of contemporary Arabic music, using her strong vocals throughout the song, but at the same time, pulling off wearing a very modern dress.

Along with the music, as many people will notice, the world of fashion and established culture has changed in such a way that it may appear very different, but like the music, is heavily conservative.

Well, until next time everyone, where I’ll bring you more information about the world around me and the world around you!! :D

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

~Shauchan

BEAST/B2ST (비스트)

Don’t be too shocked (no pun intended), but I actually didn’t like BEAST before.  Their name is so awesome that I really wanted to like them, but after hearing Shock I just wasn’t impressed.  The music video is pretty epic, and the song is catchy, but the cheesy lines like “everyday I shock, shock, every night I shock, shock” and “tonight so, so crazy” ruined it for me.  I know a lot of people liked it though, and that’s cool.  You can watch/listen to Shock here.

Their new (well now just new-ISH) music video and song 숨 (Soom), which means “breath,” was the one that really converted me to a BEAST fan.  See below.

숨/Soom/Breath with English Subtitles, Romanji, and Hangul:

I have probably listened to this song 20 times in the past two days. 8D  The beginning with the long note during the rap almost doesn’t work, but I give them credit for trying something kind of unique and once you get used to it it’s actually pretty cool.  I’m sad that they went so far as to have a “shirtless dancing in the rain” scene (just seems desperate to me), but other than that it’s a great music video.  As usual, the guys are super hot and their dancing is amazing!  :D

Lights Go On Again with English Subtitles and Romanization:

I’d say this is probably their second best song I’ve heard yet, but unfortunately it might be just a teaser/intro to help promote their new song Beautiful.  *facepalm*  Lights Go On Again is so much better than Beautiful, what were they thinking making it just a teaser/intro.  Hopefully they make it into a full-length song at some point.  See what you think:


Beautiful with English Subtitles and Romanization:

The idea is that they’re singing “Beautiful” to all of their female fans so it’s kind of sweet.  ^_^  Check it outtt:

In conclusion, BEAST is freaking cool.  If you like their music you can buy their albums (legally) on amazon by following the links below:

Beast Is the B2st <<<Their first mini-album with 5 songs
Mastermind <<<This CD has their song, Soom on it, as well as others.
Shock of the New Era <<<This CD has their song, Shock on it, as well as others.

Feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think about BEAST and their new songs!

A Shout-Out to the Lurkers

Hey!  This is a call to all the lurkers out there.  It seems like there are actually quite a few people viewing the site, but hardly any of you are commenting… we’d like to interact with you more!

Please introduce yourselves!  We’d like to know:

  1. What you’d like to be called (your online persona or nickname)
  2. What country you live in
  3. What kind of music you like
  4. What song you’re listening to right now
  5. What you’re eating right now, or what you wish you were eating.

…and if you have a favorite post on the blog that’d be a nice bonus.  8D

Shauchan, Kuro, and I hope to hear from you guys!  ^_^

I am Kuro, and I’m the second new contributing author at Stir-Crazy International. I’ve always been so mesmerized and awed by Japanese and Korean pop cultures, especially their musicians/bands. I am also fascinated with Japanese street fashion such as Lolita, gal, and visual kei.

Most of my posts will focus on the Japanese rock/metal/visual kei scene, including old songs and new updates such as new releases. For J-rock, there are different genres such as nu metal, punk rock, progressive metal, alternative rock and neoclassical metal.  All I can say is J-rock definitely changed my mind about metal because before I started listening to this genre, I actually hated metal. After listening to Dir en grey in my freshman year of high school though, I started becoming a fan of metal. As a college student now, I do what I can to go to rare, local J-rock concerts and give all my support to my favorite bands.

I understand a lot of people cannot stand “screaming” in music (like our Indian contributor Shauchan), but…you have to give some J-rock bands a chance before refusing to listen to any of their songs. Bands like Dir en grey and X Japan that have proven that language is no barrier when it comes to showing powerful emotions and passion through their music. Some of their songs have even put me in tears just by listening to them at home on my laptop or iPod. Only the most talented musicians can make any music lover bawl.  Again, I promise to bring the best J-rock music to you, so do please try to listen to J-rock….at least the ones I recommend. ^_^

I will also post up updates on new K-pop/C-pop songs, even J-pop songs. I will keep fighting to show you amazing songs! *O*

~Kuro

I just finished the Korean drama, 장난스런 키스 (Jang Nan Seu Reon Kiseu), also known as Playful Kiss, Mischievous Kiss, or Naughty Kiss, which aired in September and October of this year.  I doubt I would watch it a second time, but it certainly was entertaining and I did an all-nighter watching it so…

(There’s a link to a site where you can watch Playful Kiss online for free at the bottom of this post.)   ⬇⬇⬇

The premise of the drama is that Oh Ha Ni (portrayed by Jung So Min from the Kdrama, Bad Boy) is an exuberant, upbeat high school girl with some of the worst grades in the school and is in love with Baek Seung Jo (portrayed by Kim Hyun Joong from SS501 and Boys Over Flowers, etc.), the handsome, popular, genius of the school who gets perfect grades and has an IQ of 200.  The drama follows the two through their senior year of high school and on to college as they make decisions about what to do with their lives.  As a college student dealing with these hard decisions myself, I really appreciated how this show addresses the issue of making life choices.  It was encouraging to see others struggling with the same decisions I need to make and I think many other people can probably relate as well.

Mischievous Kiss-kdrama

Playful Kiss started out quite bizarrely with an enchanted forest scene, but slowly seemed to shed its odd, quirkiness as the show progressed.  At the same time, there was also a grounded, realistic aspect to the drama that made it quite relatable.  Unlike Boys Over Flowers, it wasn’t an extravagant, exaggerated school drama, but rather one in which the schools were pretty normal and we actually see the students studying and worrying about grades and such like real people.  Surprisingly, there was also no “shocking and unrealistic twist” that you find towards the end of most Kdramas.  You know, the ones where a traumatic childhood event or ancient murder is revealed or a random life-and-death situation emerges out of the blue.

As with most, if not all Kdramas, this one did have the prolonged period in the latter part where the main character spent the majority of her time in the depths of despair.   I think they went a bit overboard with it in this drama though; it got old.

This was one of the dirtier Kdramas that I’ve seen, with the dirtiest being Personal Taste, however I very much prefer how things worked out in this one since they actually got married.  There were some pretty awkward scenes though.  “>.>

And OH MY GOSH, there was a white girl in this drama who was a minor character towards the end, but she actually had a number of lines and played a pretty important role in the overall scheme of things.  It kinda blew my mind.  8D

Playful Kiss had the typical “cold jerk” falls for “cute likable dork” scenario, but this one was interesting (and realistic) because the main characters had pretty consistent personalities throughout the drama.  Often, the “jerk” magically changes into a sweet guy when he starts going out with the “cute dork” girl, but unfortunately, that rarely happens in real life.  Ironically, I also disliked that fact that he doesn’t change though, because he really is a jerk and it kind of bothered me.  Sometimes it’s shocking how mean he is, but in his defense, it often turns out that he had a reason for acting the way he did or saying what he said.

I was really happy with the ending of Playful Kiss.  This is only the SECOND Kdrama I’ve seen that did a good job with the ending, so this is a big deal!  Often Kdrama endings fall flat or even manage to totally ruin the whole story up till that point.  I was so relieved that this one wrapped everything up well and left me with a good feeling about spending sixteen hours of my life watching the drama.

Though I can’t say it’s amazing, I think this is one of the better Kdramas out there and is worth watching if you’re looking for a fun and entertaining drama or if you’re going through a period of transition in your life.  Oddly enough, it really made me think about getting married.  lol!

Here’s the Viikii channel where you can watch Playful Kiss for free online and here’s the full first episode in HQ to make things easier for you.  (you can find all the episodes along the left side of the channel page, I recommend the full-length HQ ones.)  Enjoy!

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