Saturday, July 14, 2012

Asmahan | Yalli Hawak

Listen to " Emta Ha Ta'raf"

Get it all here.

I will not open the Lester Bangs book to a random page and build another entire post on a creative misreading of one of his sentences. I will not open the Lester Bangs book to a random page and build another entire post on a creative misreading of one of his sentences. I will not--

Oh, hey; how you doing? I didn't hear you come in. Heh. Happy Bastille Day! Sit, sit. Have some tea and help yourself to a bit of the baklava; I'll be right with you ...

So! While you were away, I received a couple of very sweet, appreciative emails from folks who recently wandered into the Bodega. In addition to making me feel warm and fuzzy, they also reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place: the fact that there has been, historically, so little attention paid in our culture to music from around the world. If, by "attention" we mean "reviews, essays and books," then this is still very much the case, although music blogs like the dozens of examples I've linked to in the right-hand aisle are one medium or platform or whatever where music from all over the world is finally getting some of the international exposure that so much of it deserves.

The great Druze superstar and pop innovator Asmahan was one of the first non-western voices your Bodega proprietor ever heard; it was back in the 1990s when I discovered this CD in the stacks of the since-closed Daff and Raff Arabic Bookstore in Boston. I remember it as though it was just yesterday ... but worry not, I shan't bore you with that particular memory. Suffice to say that it was a purely random find and that, along with a handful of other random finds, also in the 1990s, completely changed my musical horizons forever.

The present CD--would you like some more tea?--was a more recent find, mid-2000s maybe, most likely at (the since-closed) Princess Music on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. I had, by that time, read Sherifa Zuhur's Asmahan's Secrets: Woman, War, and Song, one of the few (like, three? four?) books on Arabic music in English, so I had some context for her, or at least knew something about her life and influence as well as about her mysterious death, on this very day in 1944, an event that has given rise to a thousand conspiracy theories--everything from Asmahan being a Nazi spy to Oum Kalsoum having her rubbed out so she, Oum, could take over as the First Lady of Arabic Song.

Before you leave with your precious download, I should say that--and I'm being completely honest here, I swear--I had no idea that Asmahan died on July 14 when I pulled her CD down off the shelf tonight to post it and, yes, when I glanced at the Wikipedia page I linked to above and saw that date, I got a body-wide case of goosebumps. So, I don't care what your religion is, things do happen for a reason and, despite my use of the word a paragraph or two above, there is probably no such thing as "random." 


Crafty C said...

No, there's not. And I'm extremely happy that this non-random event gave you goosebumps. Stuff like that gives me goosebumps all the time!

And thanks!

Hammer said...

Yes, Gary things like this happen in hazardous and mysterious ways. Call it 'blogarma': blog karma.

1.) I read the labels and saw that you've tagged -lebanon-egypt- only, when Asmahan was of a Syrian descent.
2.) The name of the sound-file for that song (written and composed by her brother and oud God, Mr. Farid Al-Atrache), is being always wrongly misspelled in many CD-Reviews. It's 'Emta Hata'araf' (When Will You Know), and not 'Enta'. Emta means 'when' in Arabic, while 'Emta' means 'When' in the Egyptian vernacular tongue.

The full track-list for that CD is as follows:
1.) Yalli Hawak (Thou Love).
2.) Layali El-Uns Fi Vienna (The Beautiful Nights In Vienna).
3.) Emta Ha Ta'raf (When Will You Know).
4.) Ana Elli Astahil (I Am The One Who Deserves (Your Mistreatment)).
5.) Asqineeha (Oh, Pour for Us (Bartender)).
6.) Ahwa Al-Ward (I Love Roses).
7.) Ya Layali El-Bishr (Oh Nights of Goodness).
8.) Ayyuha Al-Na'im (O'Bliss).
9.) Ya Dirati (Oh My Home Town).
10.) Kan Li Amal (I Had A Hope).

Thanks a lot for everything.


Hammer said...

Oops. Correction and an add-up to the earlier comment:

Emta = When.
Enta = You (male-use).

Must have been that I was still waking up. Ugh, it takes me two full hours to fully wake up in the morning. Brr.


Gary said...

Thanks, Hammer. Duly noted and I've made the corrections.

Unknown said...

Oh, first tnahks for your TREMENDOUS blog, but this link daesnt work, afer reading you i really to listen her songs ..

Gary said...

You're right; not sure what's going on there. I'll have to look into it tonight and will repost if need be.

Gary said...

Hi Matthieu, I've reposted it, so please try again ...