Mohamad Hamaki is a wonderful Egyptian pop star who’s albums I was lucky enough to find the other night. I have been unable to find too much information about him or his music, but he did win the 2010 “Best Arabia Act” in the MTV Europe Music Awards for “Ahla Haga Fiki” (which I found a fun remix – by DJ.Idriss – and video for!) . Hamaki’s second album, Kheles El Kalam, went platinum as the best selling Middle Eastern album of 2006.
You know I love the fun Arabic dance sounds! Listening to his albums so far has been a blast! Definitely one of my favourtie male Arabic pop starts so far! =) His latest album, Haga Mosh Tabeaya, is much more electronically driven than his earlier albums, but features many traditional Arabic instruments, which makes it a really fun fusion. It will be in my car soon!
This is a fun remix:
Ragheb Alama is another great Lebanese pop star I have recently enjoyed in my listening adventures in Arabic pop music. His career began in the 1980s when he appeared on the TV talent show Studio El Fan. His first single following his success on the show, “Bukra Byebrom Dulabak” launched his career to an instant height. Alama’s single “Alby Asheq’ha” was the first Arabic song to be made into a music video!
Alama had many successful albums in the 2000s and his most recent, Seneen Rayha, was released with Starbucks, another first: the first Arabic artist to sell their CD through Starbucks! He also adopted an environmental cause with the album after being named the United Nations Ambassador of Climate Change.
One of the most popular and successful artists of the Arab music world, Alama is now to be a host on the pan-Arab series of American Idol. With 16 albums throughout his career, there is undoubtedly much to hear! But unfortunately I have only been able to get a hold of a dozen or so songs. I hope to find more soon!!
Check out his website: Ragheb Alama
Here’s a great video with another great, Elissa!
Sherine is singer/actress from Cairo, Egypt. She has released 4 albums throughout her career thus far, from her debut: Garh Tany in 2003, which launched her to popularity and solidified her as one of the most well known Arabic artists, to her most recent being Habeat in 2009. I managed to find Habeat and is as of now the only album of hers I have had the pleasure of listening to.
Sherine has also had a small acting career in Egypt, but more so has contributed songs to many Egyptian films, including “An el-Ish’ wel-Hawa”. The movie’s theme song, “Keteer Ben’sha”, became a major hit. That same year, she released “Lebnan Fel Alb (Lebanon’s in the Heart)”, a song dedicated to Lebanon and the victims who fell in the Israeli-Lebanese conflict.
Habeat is much less dance driven than many Arabic albums I have enjoyed, having a lot more slow-tempo and energetic ballad-y songs, but still has the great percussions and fun electronic sounds I love so much in Arabic pop music. I hope to find more of her albums soon!
My love affair of Arabic pop music continues with Lebanese singer, model, and pop icon Amal Hijazi. Her music career begin in 2000 after a long modeling career, with the release of her first two singles: “Halan” and “Rayyak Balak”. Hijazi’s debut album, Akher Gharam, released in 2001 became the highest selling debut album ever for a female artist, and the album stayed #1 on the charts for 8 months. Four singles from this album debuted #1 in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Tunisia!
Hijazi released her second album, Zaman, in 2002 and was an instant success. The title track became one of the biggest hit singles in the middle east and is still considered her signature song. She has had several other albums to date that have also been widely successful throughout the middle east.
There are several controversies surrounding Hijazi and other female Lebanese pop stars, especially singer Elissa. There have been accusations of Hijazi imitating Elissa’s musical video styles and the two are open about their rivalry. There have also been rumours of controversies with Nancy Ajram and Nawal Al Zoghbi.
Hijazi has also had problems with Kuwait, being banned from entering despite continuous efforts to travel there. She has not received any real justifications and says she will not rest until she finds out the real reasons for her being banned. Throughout her career both as a model and entertainer Hijazi has been known for her contributions to many middle eastern charities. In 2008 she was named 8th Arab Sexiest Woman Alive (managing to get twice as many votes as Egyptian singer Sherine – soon to come!)