The Talat Da’at Music Video is Finally Out (and it’s Pretty Chill)

The Talat Da'at crew. (Instagram / tamerhabibiofficial)

The Talat Da’at crew. (Instagram / tamerhabibiofficial)

Okay so, you need to drop whatever you’re doing and watch the music video for the song “Talat Da’at.” 

The song debuted during the first El Gouna Film Festival, and people literally couldn’t stop obsessing over it. Now, the music video is out, and we, along with the entire nation, have lost the ability to even. The video actually makes us love the song more, if that’s even possible. Oh, and it’s flooded with celebrities left and right. From Shereen Reda to Tamer Habib, Ahmed Malek and much more, we are absolutely in love.

WE SAID THIS: What do you think about the music video?

Edited from the original by Al Bawaba

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Souad Massi Enchants Beirut

Souad Massi performing. (Schorle / Wikimedia Commons)

Souad Massi performing. (Schorle / Wikimedia Commons)

Stopping by Lebanon on her world tour, Algerian-born folk singer Souad Massi gave a laid-back and intimate performance at MusicHall Waterfront Tuesday evening. The open-air concert was completely sold out, with dedicated fans eager to see “The Best Of” Massi, as the show was tagged, boasting a program thick with fan-favorites and hits from her six albums.

Made famous by her 1999 hit “Al-Raoui” (The Storyteller), Massi is known for blending music styles, from folk and classic rock to flamenco and classical Arabic – often singing in French, Arabic and Amazigh (aka “Berber”).

Staged by Liban Jazz and Elefteriades, the concert saw Massi joined onstage by mandolin player Mehdi Dalil and percussionist Rabah Khalfa, both of whom gave fantastic solos throughout the evening.

The seated, dressed-down evening reflected Massi’s down-to-earth profile and simple approach to music, focusing on harmonies, catchy rhythms and meaningful lyrics.

Her full-bodied and smoky vocals had the audience singing along to the soulful “Khalouni,” and stomping their feet to the beat of “Kilyoum,” with several people dancing in the aisles. Many of her fans’ other favorite hits were also performed, including “Houria,” “Ghir Enta,” and “Matebkiche.”

Massi’s 18-year musical career began in Bab al-Oued, Algiers, when her music-loving family encouraged her to accept an invitation to perform at the Femmes d’Algerie (Women of Algeria) festival in Paris. From there she was signed for her first album, “Raoui.”

Working in collaboration with Liban Jazz, the Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture center has been hosting talks with the international musicians performing at MusicHall. Massi was the most recent speaker at these “Talking Music” sessions, always held the day before the concert, allowing people to learn more about the artists and ask questions.

“I used to listen to a lot of traditional Algerian music, which is all about emotion,” Massi told The Daily Star during the talk.

“At 17 I started learning to play guitar. I used to listen a lot to folk, avant-garde music, Umm Kulthum and traditional Turkish songs.

“I was working at an engineering office and received a grant to go perform in Paris and saw what the music scene was like there.”

Although Massi doesn’t always like to take requests during concerts, she’s still happy to perform her old hits with as much passion as when they were new.

“If I create a program then I stick to it,” she said. “When I wrote “Al-Raoui” I had no idea it would become such a big song.

“It’s a big thing to be there for my fans, when they come up to me and say, ‘This song took me back many years’ or ‘It made me very emotional.’ It is a big responsibility. I respect the people who listen to my music. If I ever found a day where I had nothing to say or didn’t feel like being a performer, I should just stop.”

While Massi has carved out a musical identity for herself, she doesn’t feel restricted by the style that initially made her famous, always finding room to experiment and collaborate with other musicians.

“I don’t think too much about this because in my last album I sang in [classical Arabic] in a totally new way,” she explained. “I’m not commercial. I do things that I like, which is the most important thing. I don’t care if commercially it sells or not. I only care that I like it and that people will listen to it.”

Though she lives in Algeria, Massi has not had a concert there for many years, because of her work’s activist bent.

“When I worked on the poems of Ahmed Matar, I wanted to help to get his important work known more, so I lent him my voice. A lot of people discovered him through my song ‘Houria,’” she recalled. “I’ve written a lot of political songs and even till now I don’t have concerts in Algeria because they ask me not to sing certain songs and cut them out of TV screenings.”

Massi says that her next album will be recorded in Paris and feature folk-rock themes, influenced by the work of Kenny Rodgers and Bob Dylan. In the meantime, her next stop will be Istanbul (Sept. 14), after which she intends to tour through March 2018.

Despacito Reaches 3 Billion, Fixing Everything

Despacito. (Universal Latin)

Despacito. (Universal Latin)

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YT

“Despacito” is now the most-watched video in YouTube history.

“The 1st to reach 3 BILLION VIEWS, @LuisFonsi & @daddy_yankee’s #Despacito is officially the most watched video on YT,” the website’s Twitter account announced Friday.

The wildly popular, Spanish-language music video was first posted online Jan. 12.

“What an honor.. most viewed video in history and first video to reach 3 billion views… y EN ESPAÑOL!!” singer Luis Fonsi wrote in an Instagram post. “Thank you to everybody involved @daddyyankee @zuleykarivera @elasticpeople Thank you, the fans for celebrating this song with us y gracias Puerto Rico por ser el escenario más hermoso del mundo. Que viva la música latina #Despacito #RecordBreaking #ThisIsHowWeDoItDownInPR #LaPerla.”

Amman Opera: Zeina Barhoum Rises to the Occasion at Performance of Verdi’s La Traviata

Jordanian-Palestinian soprano Zeina Barhoum. (Zeina Barhoum)

Jordanian-Palestinian soprano Zeina Barhoum. (Zeina Barhoum)

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Muna

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The first ever opera festival in the Arab world debuted yesterday, and it took place in Amman. Featuring Palestinian-Jordanian soprano Zeina Barhoum, the show will feature two performances of Verdi’s La Traviata (The Fallen Woman), the next on Saturday; Barhoum takes on the role of Violetta, the main character and a courtesan who becomes half of an impossible love story.

Barhoum is also the mastermind behind the festival, though it comes to Jordan under the patronage of HRH Princess Muna. In a statement to The Jordan Tiimes, Barhoum said, “Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with people from around the globe. Through my music and art, I have realised the importance of cross-cultural connections, and I have seen first-hand how music provides an important bridge that unites cultures from all over the world. With music, we speak one language; a language we can all understand without interpreters.”

“This is an exceptional event, unprecedented,” Minister of Tourism Lina Annab noted, adding that “[the festival] will definitely help promote Jordan as a venue for more cultural events, not only in the field of opera.”

Joining Barhoum is an assembly consisting of the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra and Georgia’s Batumi Opera House Choir, plus performers from La Scala. Jordanian musicians abound. Over 150 members from 10 different nationalities put on an intricate, difficult show.

Which is why we’re happy to report it’s a hit. If this inaugural round of the Amman Opera Festival is any indication, the festival’s future is a bright one. Barhoum’s voice hits the notes easily and sustains them, sweeping the stage.

Twitter was similarly happy:

Despacito is Now the Most Streamed Song of All-Time in Six Months

Justin Bieber's remix of

Justin Bieber’s remix of “Despacito” is doing well, then. (Jack Fordyce / Shutterstock.com)

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“Despacito” has set the record for most-streamed song of all time, just six months after its release.

The original Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee song, which debuted Jan. 13, and the remix featuring Justin Bieber, which was released April 17, passed 4.6 billion plays this week, according to a news release from Universal Music.

“Streaming is a connector for audiences worldwide and it has helped my music reach every corner of the planet. It is truly an honor that ‘Despacito’ is now the most streamed song in history,” Fonsi said in a statement.

The original “Despacito” debuted at No. 88 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the remix has remained at No. 1 since reaching the top spot the week of May 27. The original music video has over 2.6 billion views on YouTube.

“Luis Fonsi already had the undisputed, biggest song of the year — and now he’s setting even bigger records,” Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge said.

“Streaming has opened up the possibility of a song with a different beat, from a different culture and in a different language to become a juggernaut of success around the world. My congratulations to Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber,” he added.

Jay-Z’s 4:44 Gets Platinum in Just About That Time

They're happy because they have babies but also because they're rich. (Instagram / beyonce)

They’re happy because they have babies but also because they’re rich. (Instagram / beyonce)

Jay-Z’s latest album, 4:44, has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America after it was released on Friday.

“Props to JAY, he’s done it again!” RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement. “Another Platinum album adds to an already iconic career.”

The album represents Jay-Z’s 13th platinum release. The rap mogul now has more platinum certified records than any other artist in RIAA history and is the only rapper to have 10 or more platinum albums.

The platinum certification comes based off of streaming numbers from TIDAL, where 4:44 was exclusively released for TIDAL and Sprint customers. Jay-Z is expected to release 4:44 physically and on other music streaming services such as Apple Music on Friday, Variety reported, citing sources.

Jay-Z made headlines with 4:44 as the album features the 47-year-old addressing his relationship with wife Beyonce following the release of Lemonade and the infamous elevator fight he had with her sister Solange.

Omar Kamal Lends the Beiteddine Festival Opening a Palestinian Flair

Omar Kamal at the Beiteddine Festival. (Anwar Amro - AFP)

Omar Kamal at the Beiteddine Festival. (Anwar Amro – AFP)

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Lebanon’s Beiteddine International Art Festival was kicked off on Sunday with the Palestinian flair of rising singer Omar Kamal, who charmed the audience in a lively concert with his repertoire of western and Arabic, romantic and national songs.

Held annually in the mountainous Chouf region, the concert saw an enthusiastic crowd that was eager to see the “new voice of the Arab world.”

The majority of the concertgoers are not familiar with Kamal, who has been more active on the European scene than the Arab one. He has even reached Hollywood. With his pure voice and charismatic presence, the performer did not disappoint. Concertgoers from all ages filled the seats at the Beiteddine palace, waiting for the “Palestinian Frank Sinatra” to take the stage in his first concert in Lebanon.

The 27-year-old singer presented a varied concert, performing songs by world singers and in different languages. Despite the diverse repertoire, romance and love remained the main theme of the concert, which was given more charm with the live orchestra accompanying Kamal.

The student who had traveled to Britain to study to become an architect, came back to the region as an artist. While in the UK, Kamal headed the choir at Cardiff University where was studying.

The concert was kicked off with a song by Sinatra, a favorite of the Palestinian singer since he was a university student. With his pure voice, Kamal sang in Arabic, French, Italian and English. He seemed more in his element when he sang his version of Sinatra’s “Swing” or Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt so Good,” which had originally catapulted him to fame.

For an hour-and-a-half, the audience swayed to the songs of Kamal and the music of the orchestra led by maestro Michael Khairallah. Kamal, a composer and piano player, did not forget Palestine, Fairuz Abdul Halim Hafez and Mohammed Abdul Wahhab, adding his own spin to their classic songs. Kamal performed songs by Michel Legrand, Charles Aznavour and Dean Martin, even coming down from the stage to dance with one of the concertgoers.