Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baghdad: More Than 50 Years Ago

Majid Kakka and Haithem Yousif 2009

I come to you
My eyes will answer for me
I did not sing for you
It is the wound inside of me

Not my fault to leave you behind
Believe me, my Home
I had no other choice

I miss to be in Baghdad
To be in al karrada
and in al mansoor

These are from the lyrics of this beautiful song by Iraqi singers and musicians Majid Kakka and Haitham Yousif.

Majid Kakka (on the left of the picture) is known for his wonderful work with Bells band in mid 1980's. I would never think of anyone who could re-produce Iraqi Maqam and traditional Baghdadi songs the way he did during that time.

Haitham Yousif (on the right), known as "the Prince of Love" (he issued an album with the same title). He is known for his warm voice and beautiful melodic songs. He reached stardom in the early 1990's.

The song is about Iraq, Iraq that will never be forgotten in spite of all the years living abroad. The song reflects little details on their feeling towards their home country, but with deep lyrics that would bring a lot of flash backs to any Iraqi.

The lyrics of the song are by Hazim Jabir, the music composed by Haitham Yousif, the music arrangement, mixing and mastering are by Majid Kakka. The song is recorded and filmed at Bells studio in Detroit, USA.

Bells Studios? this is Majid Kakka own studio, right?

Both are considered masters in their genre in using synthesizers in their songs. This musical style became the dominant in Iraq since the early 1980's and it replaced gradually the bands in Iraqi music circles and sites such as Al Seed or Al Ilwaiya clubs in Baghdad, until it became rare to see a band with a drummer and bass guitar. The development of Iraqi music is not the subject of this post, but not a lot of Iraqis liked the transition to using synths in Iraqi songs. However, it did not ruin it, but surely there were some who abused it.

I loved it in the beginning when Yousif enters the studio and the way Majid Kakka greets him with "ahlaaaaaaaaaan" with a strong hand shake that ended in a big warm hug.

The song in total is very catchy, and one of the reasons I guess is because of the combination of the two voices: it added more to the beauty of this song.

More on artists can be found on their respective websites - unfortunately, Majid Kakka and Bells band website is down. However, Haitham Yousif's website is running and can be visited here

Listen, watch and enjoy