Showing posts with label Nizar Qabbani. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nizar Qabbani. Show all posts

Friday, March 2, 2018

Tania Saleh Intersects Music, Art, and Poetry in New Arabology Interview

Listen at
My 60-minute Arabology interview with Lebanese singer/songwriter/artist Tania Saleh was initially intended to discuss the music on her new "Intersection" CD yet quickly expanded into a lively discussion of the singer's latest project where music, poetry and street art intersect to give birth to a totally unprecedented audio-visual work--one that merits time and explanation in order to be fully savored and appreciated. This project, coupled with Tania's poignant commentary about each track on the album, made for a rich, informative interview that could have easily transfixed any audience worldwide (listen below or at this link).

First, there are Tania's angelic vocals which, when combined with Tunisian Music Producer Khalil Judran's contemporary electronic sounds, give new life to poems by such acclaimed poets as Mahmoud Darwish, Khalil Gibran,  Nizar Qabbani, Nazik Al-Malaika, Bayram Al-Tunsi, Abdallah Al Bardawni, Joumana, Haddad, Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab, Salah Jahin,Younes El Ebn and Ahmad Fouad Najm.  This new approach not only payed homage to these great Arab poets but also made their work accessible to a whole new generation of listeners, both in and out of the Arab world, whose sole musical connections to these poems had been relegated to singers from their parents' generation.  Case in point is Tania's musical interpretation of Gibran's "There Is No Justice in the Forest  ليس في الغابات عدل"-- a mesmerizing track that seems reminiscent of Fairuz when she so gloriously set Gibran's poetry to music back in the 1970's.

Second, this is perhaps the first time in the history of contemporary Arabic music that an entire CD has been so eloquently accompanied by a documentary that seeks to link each song with a work of art or, in this case, with murals that were painted by Tania Saleh herself on the walls of various cities around the world. That intercession between Tania's artwork and songs has been brilliantly documented in Tania Saleh "Intersection - تقاطع": The Film, a 15-minute audio-visual feast (with English subtitles) that was brilliantly directed by Elie Fahed and released on YouTube to coincide with the launch of the CD (watch below or at

Third, Tania Saleh's "Intersection" also functions as a much needed socio-political commentary on the state of the Arab world at various historical junctures--a fact that is evidenced through the thoughtful and well researched commentary she shared with us during our recent Arabology interview. Tania is not shy about critiquing an Arab world that is suffering from endless wars and internal conflicts but through it all, she still manages to find some kind of unity in the music that she has sought to create since the 1990s--tracks that express the pain she feels for the region with a sense of optimism that is consistently found within her lyrics.

Fourth, it seems quite crucial to note the tragic absence of companies and individuals in the Arab world who could or would have ever released a musical project of such high caliber. As Tania puts in our interview, "this musical project would not have seen the light were it not for Erik Hillestad, the Kirkelig Kulturverksted label, and the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs."  To all those, we owe a note of thanks, coupled with a call to various venues worldwide--and especially in the US--to invite singers such as Tania Saleh to come and share their work with us, for it is perhaps in the global intersection of music and art that we can finally aspire to a richer, more tolerant world.
يسرّني أن أدعوكم للاستماع الى حواري الاذاعي مع تانيا صالح الذي يدور حول البومها الجديد «تقاطع» وهو مشروع فني يجمع بين الغناء والريشة وأشعار #جبران_خليل_جبران #نازك_الملائكة #نزار_قباني #صلاح_جاهين #محمود_درويش #بدر_شاكر_السياب #عبدالله_البردوني #جمانة_حداد #أحمد_فؤاد_نجم #يونس_الابن #بيرم_التونسي
:يمكنكم الاستماع الى المقابلة بأكملها عبر الرابط التالي

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 26 'Arabology' Podcast Ft. Poetry Readings by Lizzie Harmon and Andrew Clauson

Pictured (top row to bottom): Marwa Farag, Lizzie Harmon, Andrew Clauson, DJ Ramzi, Ahmad Qousi
To download/listen to this show, go to 

The April 26 Podcast of Arabology (Season 2 Episode 3) features my interviews with Stanford students Lizzie Harmon--who recites and translates a poem by Nizar Qabbani--and Andrew Clauson who talks about his reads and discusses a poem by Ahmad Shawqi (see below for more details about these poems).

Show also features a live interview with Egyptian Standord student Marwa Farag, (Features Editor for "The Stanford Daily" and Co-President of the Arab Student Association at Stanford) who discusses her views on the Egyptian revolt and her identity as an Egyptian student at Stanford.

Show also includes a ticket giveaway to a concert by Aswat and songs by Mashrou' Leila, Darine Hamze, Emel Mathlouthi, Souad Massi, Fairuz, DAM, Jadal, YAS, Miryam Saleh (ft Zeid Hamdan), Trio Joubran, Omar Offendum, Aswat, and Adonis.

To Download/listen to this episode, go to

During this episode, Stanford student Elizabeth (Lizzie) Harmon recited a poem by Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani titled "الحاكم والعصفور" [The Ruler and the Sparrow] and then read her own translation of the work. Below the pictures is the poem in Arabic; to hear Lizzie's translation, you will have to hear the episode at THIS LINK.

Lizzie Harmon and DJ Ramzi Salti

Here is the poem by Nizar Qabbani that Lizzie read on the show:

الحاكم والعصفور

نزار قباني

أتجوَّلُ في الوطنِ العربيِّ

لأقرأَ شعري للجمهورْ

فأنا مقتنعٌ

أنَّ الشعرَ رغيفٌ يُخبزُ للجمهورْ

وأنا مقتنعٌ – منذُ بدأتُ –

بأنَّ الأحرفَ أسماكٌ

وبأنَّ الماءَ هوَ الجمهورْ

أتجوَّلُ في الوطنِ العربيِّ

وليسَ معي إلا دفترْ

يُرسلني المخفرُ للمخفرْ

يرميني العسكرُ للعسكرْ

وأنا لا أحملُ في جيبي إلا عصفورْ

لكنَّ الضابطَ يوقفني

ويريدُ جوازاً للعصفورْ

تحتاجُ الكلمةُ في وطني

لجوازِ مرورْ

أبقى ملحوشاً ساعاتٍ

منتظراً فرمانَ المأمورْ

أتأمّلُ في أكياسِ الرملِ

ودمعي في عينيَّ بحورْ

وأمامي كانتْ لافتةٌ

تتحدّثُ عن وطنٍ واحدْ

تتحدّثُ عن شعبٍ واحدْ

وأنا كالجُرذِ هنا قاعدْ

أتقيأُ أحزاني..

وأدوسُ جميعَ شعاراتِ الطبشورْ

وأظلُّ على بابِ بلادي


كالقدحِ المكسورْ

This episode also includes my interview with Stanford student Andrew Clauson who spoke about his Arabic studies and his stay in Syria and Jordan.  Andrew also read and discussed a poem by Ahmad Shawqi titled الديك والثعلب [The Roooster and teh Fox] which I am including below these pictures:

DJ Ramzi (left) interviewing Andrew Clauson

Andrew Clauson reciting Ahmad Shawqi

Here is the poem by Ahmad Shawaqi that Andrew recited on the show.  To hear Andrew's recitation, listen to the episode at  THIS LINK:

قصة الثعلب و الديك
احمد شوقي

بـَرَزَ الثعـــْـــلَبُ يوماً *** في شـِعـــار الواعـِظيـنا
فـَمـَشى في الأرضِ يـَهــْـدي *** ويـَســُـبُّ المـاكرينا
ويقول: الحـــَــــمـْد لله *** إلـــَـــه العالــــَــمينا
يا عـــِـــباد الله توبوا *** فـَهو كـَهـْف ُ التــائبينا
وازهـَدوا في الطـَيـْر إن الـ *** عـَيـْش عـَيـْشُ الزاهـِدينا
واطـْلـُبوا الديـــك يؤذن *** لصـَـلاة الصـُـبـْح فينا
فأتَى الديك َ رَســــُــولٌ *** مـِن إمــام الناســــكينا
عـَرَضَ الأمرَ عـَلـَيـْـهِ *** وهو يـَرجـــو أن يـَلينا
فأجـــــاب الديـكُ عـُذْراً *** يا أضــَـل المهـْتـَدينا
بـَلـِّـغ الثـَعـْلـَبَ عـَنـي *** عـَنْ جـُدودي الصالحـــينا
عن ذَوي التـِيجان مـِمـَّن *** دَخــَــلَ البـَطـْنَ اللعينا
إنهم قـــالوا وخـَيـْرُ الـ *** قـَوْلِ قـَـوْلُ العـــارفينا
" مـُخـْطـِئ ٌمـَنْ ظـَنّ يـَومـاً *** أنَ لِلثـَعـْـلَبِ ديـــنا "

This episode also included my live interview with Marwa Farag who is the Features Editor for "The Stanford Daily" and Co-President of the Arab Student Association at Stanford.  Marwa discussed her views on the Egyptian revolt and her identity as an Egyptian student at Stanford.  Here are some pictures from Marwa's segment.  To hear the show go to  THIS LINK:

Marwa Farag at KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM

Marwa Farag with DJ Ramzi Salti

To Download/listen to this episode, go to:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Omar Offendum Records Hip Hop Version of "Qari'at Al-Fingan" قارئة الفنجان

Syrian-American rapper Omar Offendum has recorded his own Hip Hop version of the classic song "Qari'at Al-Fingan" [The Coffee Cup Fortune Teller] by Abdul Halim Hafez عبد الحليم حافظ.  The song was originally recorded by Hafez in the 60's to a famous poem by Nizar Qabbani by the same title in which a female fortune teller sits with a young man and reads his freshly consumed coffee cup--revealing the most intimate details about his life, past and present.

Omar Offensdum keeps/recites the lyrics in Arabic at the beginning of his version but soon moves into an amazingly lyrical English translation of the poem with a great beat.  The song can be found on Omar Offendum's brand new album "Syrianamericana."

Here is the original song as performed in concert by Abdel Halim Hafez on TV, followed by Omar Offedum's song "Fingan"

I am also including the verses to the Qabbani poem in Arabic and Omar Offendum's amazing lyrics so you can follow along (after the 2 video clips) as well as an exclusive interview with Omar Offendum which I have taken from Jackson Aller's blog Beats and Breath (January 2010).
The English translation of the poem below was taken from

قارئة الفنجان

لنزار قباني 

جلست .. والخوف بعينيها

تتأمل فنجاني المقلوب

قالت : يا ولدي لا تحزن

فالحب عليك هوا المكتوب

يا ولدي .. قد مات شهيداً

من مات على دين المحبوب

فنجانك .. دنيا مرعبه

وحياتك أسفار وحروب

ستحب كثيرا وكثيرا

وتموت كثيرا وكثيرا

وستعشق كل نساء الأرض

وترجع كالملك المغلوب

بحياتك .. يا ولدي .. امرأة

عيناها .. سبحان المعبود

فمها .. مرسوم كالعنقود

ضحكتها .. موسيقي وورود

لكن سماءك ممطرة




فحبيبه قلبك .. ياولدي

نائمة في قصر مرصود

والقصر كبير يا ولدي

وكلاب تحرسه وجنود

وأميرة قلبك نائمة

من يدخل حجرتها مفقود

من يدنو 

من سور حديقتها


من حاول فك ضفائرها !!

يا ولدي





ونجمت كثيراً

لكني .. لم اقرأ أبدا

فنجانا يشبه فنجانك

لم اعرف أبداً يا ولدي


تشبه أحزانك

مقدورك أن تمشي أبدا

في الحب .. على حد الخنجر

وتظل وحيداً كالأصداف

وتظل حزيناً كالصفصاف

مقدورك أن تمضي ابداً

في بحر الحب بغير قلوع

وتحب ملايين المرات

وترجع كالملك المخلوع

FINJAN | Lyrics:

Arabic verse (literal translation of Nizar's first couplets):

she sat with fear in both of her eyes
pondering the inverted coffee-cup
saying - my son...don't grieve
Love for you is written


she sat with fear in both her eyes
ponderin this turkish coffee cup inverted
carefully she worded
destiny & time
now dont you grieve my son
for love is written for you in the signs
martyrdom for he who dies religiously
but love is blind
your coffee-cup is terrifyin
a life of travellin & battlin
a lot of love...a lot of death
a load of pain unravels
as your chasin after every woman on the planet only
to return like a defeated king - lascivious & lonely

Chorus >>


if love is free ...
why'd a fortuneteller charge me a fee just to say that?


im free to love ...
but nobody's willing to reciprocate - i guess its payback ...

Now in your future is a girl whose eyes alone can make you praise the lord lips shaped like grapes - beautiful - her laugh is musical
and still the sky above's a gloomy grey that rains & pours
road blocked...dead locked...immutable...a sight unusual
the woman of your dreams sleepin in a palace tower
guarded by both dogs & soldiers - likes of which will make you cower and the princess of your heart
in a slumber from the start
suitors lost - climbin fences to uproot her...
who'd've thought?

now i've read many palms & horoscopes before but I have never seen
a coffee-cup resemblin your coffee-cup...i've never seen
sorrows like the sorrows emanating from this demitasse
your destiny's to walk on dagger tips of love so many times...
the solitude of seashells & the weepin willowy wails...
leave you stuck in currents of an oceanic love for females...
the details you'll love & lose a million times only
to return like a dethrone'd king - lascivious & lonely

Chorus >>


if love is free ...
why'd a fortuneteller charge me a fee just to say that?


im free to love ...
but nobody's willing to reciprocate - i guess its payback ...

(3rd verse is my own writings, not translation)

i read between the lines like fortune-tellers with a coffee cup
and i aint talkin bout them frapuccinos with that frothy stuff
our peoples are of equal standing in the eyes of GOD we trust
but we're the ones who shoulder blame when errorism's army busts
im sick of askin why - wanna kick up ash n fly
when a man is rich whether in gold or knowledge he should try
to treat the poverty of other brothers with consideration
knowin that the highest form of flattery is imitation
its another iteration - of the same bitter-taste with the same limitations faint recollections of her face interlaced in
the bars of a jail where there aint visitation
man i hate bein patient
rather be the doctor
diagnose a higher dose of mea culpa - not ya
general hospital scrub in soap or opera
a local wasta connect-the-dot
qaari'at il-finjan

Chorus >>


if love is free ...
why'd a fortuneteller charge me a fee just to say that?


im free to love ...
but nobody's willing to reciprocate - i guess its payback ...

Arabic verse (literal translation of Nizar's last couplets):

your fate is to remain forever
in the ocean of love with no rescue
and to love a million times
and return like the dethroned/deposed king


Many thanks to Omar Offendum for writing/supplying these amazing lyrics in English.


The Fortune Teller by Nizar Qabbani
Original Source of this Translation:
She sat with fear in both her eyes
Pondering the Turkish coffee, inverted carefully
She worded “Do not grieve my son
You are destined to fall in love”
My son, Who sacrifices himself for his beloved,
Is a martyr

I have long practiced fortune-telling
But never have I read a cup similar to yours
I have long practiced fortune-telling
But never have I seen sorrows similar to yours
You are predestined to sail forever
Sail-less, on the sea of love
Your life is forever destined
To be a book of tears
And be imprisoned
Between water and fire

But despite all its pains,
Despite the sadness
That is with us day and night
Despite the wind
The rainy weather
And the cyclone
It is love, my son
That will be forever the best of fates.

There is a woman in your life, my son
Her eyes are so beautiful
Glory to God
Her mouth and her laughter
Are full of roses and melodies
And her gypsy and crazy love of life
Travels the world
The woman you love
May be your whole world
But your sky will be rain-filled
Your road blocked, blocked, my son
Your beloved, my son, is sleeping
In a guarded palace
He who approaches her garden wall
Who enters her room
And who proposes to her
Or tries to unite her plaits
Will cause her to be lost, my son…lost.

You will seek her everywhere, my son
You will ask the waves of the sea about her
You will ask the shores of the seas
You will travel the oceans
And your tears will flow like a river
And at the close of your life
You will find that since your beloved
Has no land, no home, no address
You have been pursuing only a trace of smoke
How difficult it is, my son
To love a woman
Who has neither land, nor home

Expanding the Dialog: Omar Offendum’s debut album ‘SyrianamericanA’

Syrian-American rap super hero? Homeboy from a street called Straight? Omar Offendum sat down with me recently to hash out what his new album gonna be like. Much love to this brother for what is an expanded rap attack at a time when we need a properly politicized voice straddling these two worlds of oriental and occidental. (Note: versions of this article appeared for both NOW Lebanon and UMen Magazine)

Music Video Stills from Omar Offendum’s song “Destiny” – shot by Laith Majali ©

BEIRUT – At a club date in Beirut early January 2008, when Omar Chakaki, aka Omar Offendum of the hip-hop crew The N.O.M.A.D.S, was walking out of a Monot street basement covered in sweat from a 3 hour rap extravaganza, a kid who was walking out with him at the time turned to his friends and within earshot of Offendum said, “His rhymes was tight,” to which he meant that Offendum’s delivery was crisp and put together.

And it’s true. Offendum is an Arab rapper who always seems put together. Clean shaven, perhaps a wee soul patch on his chin. Always a nice rim (baseball hat) on his head when performing – sometimes blue and green Zoo York plaids, sometimes a black cap with an LA on the front (for the LA Dodgers), but always a hat with a crisp front brim that is never folded at the sides. He looks put together because he is.

Based in Los Angeles, Offendum works as an architect, and there’s no doubt he leads a double life – professional by day, Arab rap super hero by night. But he has made peace with that duality, and along with other rappers in the Arab Diaspora like Iraqi-born MC The Narcicyst, Lebanese-Syrian MC Eslam Jawaad, and Palestinian-American MC, Ragtop of the group The Philistines, he is part of an Arab Rap Pack that is gaining a solid fan base – in America, the UK and now in the Arab world.

© Laith Majali

“You know 60 percent of the population in the Middle East is under the age of 30. And hip-hop is quickly taking shape and taking root here. Especially in cities like Beirut and Damascus,” Offendum told UMen.

Over the last two years, Offendum has toured the Middle East regularly. Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Dubai. And while he’s a Syrian-American with deep ties to his family’s home in Damascus, he admits he has a gravitational pull for his “favourite urban center” in the Arab world – Beirut City, Lebanon.

This March is the scheduled release of his first full-length solo album – SyrianamericnA –an anxiously anticipated project for Arab hip-hop heads and for conscious rap fans who have been blessed to hear his revolutionary metaphors.

With inspiration from poet Nizar Qabbani, Offendum’s new album explores issues of love, war and identity, and includes long verses in Arabic that he says are meant to “open up his Arab audience base.”

BEATS AND BREATH caught up with Offendum during his January tour of the hip-hop lecture series called, “Brooklyn Streets to Beirut Beats,” that features a three-man lyrical wonder-crew, The Human Writes Project, with Ragtop, and the Mexican-American HBO Def Jam poet, Mark Gonzalez.

BEATS AND BREATH (B&B): Tell us about – SyrianamericanA. The title conjures up notions of Pax Syriana. Does the name come from your dual nationality as an MC – what does it mean?

OMAR: Yes. There’s no doubt that I straddle two worlds in my life. I’m Syrian-American and when I’m in the States, I’m defending Syrian points of view, Arab points of view, Middle-Eastern points of view to people that don’t necessarily feel the same way as I do.

When I’m here, in the Arab world, I’m defending American points of view to people that don’t normally think or know things about America in the ways that I do.

So SyrianamericanA, it’s part Syriana, which is a very loosely defined term – a think-tank term that people kind of use in the West to describe the divvying up of nations; the divide and conquer strategy in the Middle-East to divide up the oil and resource interests here.

And then there’s Americana. It’s diners. It’s milk shakes. It’s all that you know…white culture. But it’s this blend of all of these different things that make the American experience too. It’s the music. It’s black culture, its Native-American, Mexican, white, and Asian cultures…all that mixed in.

In the end, what it all means to me is that SyrianamericanA is, ‘A nation-state of mind. Where everything is connected.’ Which is a tag line of the George Clooney movie Syriana, and ‘Everyone is welcome.’ Which is just ultimately how Arab hospitality makes you feel!

© Laith Majali

B&B: Turning to the songs on your album – even with so many great themed hip-hop albums preceding you – no one has really told the narrative of being Arab-American? Go through some of the songs for us.

OMAR: It’s true that there have been so many concept albums in hip-hop history, and that it’s happening less and less. So I knew this had to be a concept album.

About the songs. One of the first things I decided to do when I started this album is to look back at what my influences were. I decided to go back and look at Nizar Qabbani’s poetry. Not really thinking that I would straight translate the stuff. But I got some beats from Habillis and Sandhill from the Iraqi-Canadian crew Euphrates in Montreal. And these beats really inspired me. There was more Arabic sampling. I mean, Habillis was making really complete songs. This brother really, really makes music and he samples the most incredible parts of songs and puts them together – and so you have to come correct with your lyrics when you record!

To make it more a part of the hip-hop experience I thought to do a translation of Nizar Qabbani’s The Damascene Poem. And Habillis actually he put in as one of the samples some great singing from Armando Manzanero. He’s an old-school Mexican crooner – an indigenous singer. Beautiful song about a blind man that doesn’t get to experience things like the birds and the trees, and that is how he feels for his lover, who he doesn’t get to see. So I took that and flipped it to be an explanation about my experience with Damascus. Because I really didn’t get to live there and see it. But that’s my home in my head. That’s my mom. That’s the stories I grew up with.

And that poem…well I admit that we have a family connection to Nizar Qabbani family. My mom’s great friends with his sister and his brother. And Nizar’s brother has taken a sort of grandfatherly role with me and he lives in Washington DC.

When Nizzar passed in 1998, I actually read the Damascene poem at a memorial service for him at Georgetown University while I was in high school. So that poem took me way back. Nizar’s brother ended up getting me a signed book of poetry from Nizar a little before he passed and he gave them to me like – and in the inscription – Nizar wrote, ‘For your love of poetry and your talents…’ So that kind of stuck in my head for all these years to kind of do this.

© Laith Majali

B&B: So would you say that you’ve become more of a complete MC and that your songs are more a reflection of maturity on this album?

OMAR: Absolutely, and I really tried to make more complete songs on this album. There’s the story of Majnoun Leila – it’s an old Arabic love story. Star-crossed lover kind of thing. Some say it was the inspiration to Romeo and Juliet. I thought, again, it was a universal story that had to be done with a hip-hop sensibility.

I also translated Qareat Al Fingan – The Coffeecup Fortuneteller – which was a poem sung by Abdel Halim Hafez. It was another beautiful story. It’s about love – when a woman fortuneteller tells the poet that he’s going to love a lot of women in his life, but ultimately will remain lonely. So this song in the album is with this in mind.

Another story on my album is called The Street called Straight – it’s about different people I met in my life and during my time in Damascus. They say that Damascus is the longest continuously inhabited city on Earth. And the street called Straight in Damascus might very well be the longest continuously used street. They talk about it in the Bible. It’s where Saint Paul got his sight back.

So I made up this little tale about these three individuals I met on the street. I try to relate it back to the folks about the street in a hip-hop sense. Because hip-hop is urban – city – in the streets. So I’m just talking about the oldest one, a street called Straight.

‘Met a spiritual teacher, predecessor to the pusher man.’ The medicine man is the predecessor to the pusher man. The last fellow I meet in this song is a carpenter – ‘predecessor to the architect.’ Biblical references. They all tell me in the end to ‘follow the middle path on a street called straight.’ And following the middle path is a philosophy inherent in a lot of different world religions and life teachings. So I played with that idea.

B&B: Do you think SyrianamericanA is an album that most identifies you with the rising Arabic hip-hop movement?

OMAR: Most definitely. For the first time since I started recording, I have songs with full Arabic verses on this album. I did that in an attempt to get more into the Arab Diaspora. Getting more people from here relating to things. But at the same time – not only because those same songs have English verses on them. So for the English speaker, I can hopefully demystify the Arab language and not make it seem like their movie stereotypes of a language where people are just yelling at each other on news clips but it’s this beautiful thing.

B&B: How do you want to release the album?

OMAR: That’s all stuff that is in discussion. I fiddled with the idea of just doing a music download. And you know, do it digitally at first. Because that’s the way everybody is doing it these days. You’re gonna sell some CDs, sure. Ultimately I just want my shit to get out there, and I have no problem in the end with people just ripping a copy of the album of some site – it’s cool ‘cause that’s hip-hop to me. Like doing it bootleg out the back of your car trunk, and establishing yourself guerrilla-like first.

I have a 9 to 5 job in an architecture firm. So I can eat, and I’m not stressin’ like that.

B&B: But let’s be clear, that you can be picky about how you grow as an artist because you can support yourself outside of the industry?

OMAR: Alhumdulillah. I’m fortunate to be able to do this. But I’d love to be able to someday make a living just doing hip-hop. It’s gonna take time. Ten years and it’s gonna take more time. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.


© Laith Majali

Below is the description on Laith Majali’s blog which I think is rather dope and shows the genesis of some shit that’s gonna rock the house when it’s released! Big ups to Laith! Here’s the write up:

While I was in L.A this summer, I wanted to test out the High Definition video capabilities of the Canon 5D mark II, so I offered to shoot and direct a music video for Omar Offendum’s “Destiny” off his upcoming album “SyrianamericanA.” What started out as a test is now developing to an international shoot with locations in Los Angeles (already shot) and Beirut (to be shot in October.)

I was really impressed with the quality of the files i was getting from the camera, so here are a couple of still frames pulled from the HD video, it’s great to know that wherever I am in the world i can shoot high quality video.

The video will be released through Immortal Entertainment, a multi-faceted entertainment company I recently fromed in Amman. (More about the company in a seperate post.)

A bit about Omar as put by our brother from another mother Narcy:

“Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American MC/Architect hailing from the Sham, Los Angeles and/or DC. He is currently working on his first solo LP called ‘Syriana-Americana’ and is a founding member of the N.O.M.A.D.S. (Notoriously Offensive Male Arabs Discussing Shit) with fellow marksmen, Mr. Tibbs. Ladies know him as “Syrias Finest” but us homies just call him “Ladies Love Cool O”

For original blog entry/interview by Jackson Allers, see his blog Beats and Breath.

Ramzi Salti's Talk: Healing through Lebanese Music (EPIC Fellows, Stanford Global Studies, September 2020)

Watch full talk at This audio-visual talk by Stanford Lecturer + Arabology program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was pre...