Arabic (2)

Playing the Mandolin

A couple of weeks I finally received the mandolin after it spent a month touring the USA as FedEx lost it a couple if times.
I wasn’t able to play it the first couple of days because the tuning wouldn’t stick. Then I learned you should always change the strings whenever you get a new mandolin (or ukulele, or even a guitar). The nice guy at Instruments Garage did a great job at stringing the mandolin and tuning it. And he made it a point to let me know it was a cheap one, unlike the one they had in the shop that cost about an arm and half a leg.
I just wanted to try it anyway, and as one guy put it at a mandolin forum, the first mandolin is not a marriage for life, merely a training instrument.
So I have been training with scales and other techniques like tremolo and cross picking (that’s like nose picking only harder). And for fun, I have been trying to play some songs, mostly Arabic. Here’s a list of the ones I would play almost acceptably in front of a lenient audience (family and close friends):

  • سلم عليها
  • طلي اضحكيلو يا صبيه
  • عايشة وحدا بلاك
  • ع هدير البوسطة
  • حلف القمر
  • مقدمة انت الحب
  • Ho Gaya [Indian song]
  • What God has yoked together [#63]

Next on my list is the Godfather theme, Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley)

Needless to say I’m really enjoying it.


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Enjoying Ramadan

Living in Lebanon allows plenty of opportunities to benefit from multi-denominational fun events. Why, just last week we had spent a whole evening watching fireworks all over Mount Lebanon in celebration of Mar Elias. That went on all night and the next day, and the smell of sulfur and filled the air for a week. All in good fun really, and no forest fires! Well there are no forests left anyway.
And then came Ramadan. A full month of festivities (followed by 3 days of festivities, take that).
How would you enjoy Ramadan? To start with the special sweets, one must eat Kallaj and Hadaf at least once during the month, preferably during the first week when the frying oils are still fresh.
The other thing that I personally enjoy is listening to good old Arabic language well spoken. And that is what you get with at least one of the many daily dramas prepared specifically for Ramadan, namely “Omar“.
It’s a huge production about Umar ibn Al-Khattāb with historically approved references and plenty of (Arab) world class actors.
I don’t know what it is about listening to all these actors speaking well rehearsed Arabic that makes me sit and listen. What a beautiful language we have. Too bad it’s being ruined and bastardized by the rest of the dramas of the month!
One thing to ruin the mood though is all the heat, good thing we live in the mountains 🙂

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