Rising Jordanian singer Yazan al Rousan along with a few others have recently launched a new project: a band called Autostrad that aims to somehow ‘revolutionize’ current-day Arab music by incorporating various elements of Rock, Jazz, and even a hint of electronic music in the predominantly “mono-styled” Arab music world.
While I’m a fan of conventional Arab music, I think we should see some more variety in there. I mean, when looking at English (English language) music, we’d see classical, gospel, rock, jazz, blues, rap, hip-hop, etc. but for Arab music there’s just a single genre. Granted, it has some innovative variation within the “Arab genre”, I have not seen any notable Arab musician that represents an actual departure from that Arab genre.
Anyways, with Yazan al Rousan and the newly-formed Autostrad, I think we’ll have a chance to see some of that.
The album is unconventional to say the least, and probably ‘weird to hear’ for many. It’ll confuse you at times and shock you at others, but listen to the whole thing with an open mind and ear, and you’ll be impressed.
Refreshing is all I can say.
Here is some relevant information:
And here’s the track list (along with a short commentary):
- Safar (سافر), probably my favorite song in the album. Adopting a highly melodious and enjoyable rhythm, and sung with a traditional bedoin accent, Safer succeeds in portraying a melancholic voice and perhaps imposing a similar mood on the listener.
- Mirsal (مرسال), This is a remake of a song of the same name. While I still must say I prefer the original, this again is an excellent track.
- Kil Shi Jutabel (كل شي جوتابل) is a typical example of the band’s “interesting” music style. Nothing exceptional in the song as a musical composition, but why did I find myself listening to it 4 times in a row trying to extract some meaning out of it? Such hard-to-understand yet seemingly enlightening lyrics style seems to spread across the album.
- Fikrak (فكرك)
- Asmar (أسمر)
- Habseh w Lamseh (حبسة ولمسة) perhaps one of the most energetic and enjoyable songs by Autostrad. Excuse the ‘references’ throughout the song though!
- Kanabaye (كنباي), an indeed humorous song recorded live to capture the response of the audience (who, at times, laughed their a**es off). Seemingly nonsensical and comic, I’m told the song has some meaning… I’m yet to find any though!
- Mafi Ishi Nsawi (مافي إشي نساوي)
- Alf Tahiyyeh (ألف تحية), the only thing I can say for this song is that it’s heart warming!
- Ya Salam (يا سلام), Yazan al Rousan (and now Autostrad)‘s perhaps more popular song. Very active, high spirited, and unusually happy, the song presents the idea that one must live his/her life regardless of whatever else they might face. I like.