Music Picks: 33a - Kari Kris

My dearest readers may be puzzled both by the name of the band I chose for today and the title of the song, but please, follow me once again to the mythical land of Georgia...
33a is an Georgian folk rock band founded in Tbilisi in 1994. The musicians around Niaz Diasamidze combine Georgian folklore elements with pop and reggae and perform mainly in Georgian and French.
The name "33a" comes from the address — 33a, Paliashvili street, where the founder of the band Niaz lives.

I heard the song karis kris for the first time in a Georgian movie long before youtube made everything available I was fascinated by the modern interpretation of Galaktion Tabidze's poem "Whirles the Wind" ("Kari kris"). This poem is very melodic with many alliterations and its magical sound is rendered by the congenial translation by Innes Merabishvili, that I refer to here:

Whirls the Wind

Whirls the wind, whirls the wind, whirls the wind

And the leaves whirl from wind still to wind…
Rows of trees, lines of trees bend in arch,
Where art thou, where art thou, why so far?..
How it rains, how it snows, how it snows,
Where to find, where to find… Never know!
But pursued, but pursued by your eyes
All the time, everywhere, every time!..
Distant skies drizzle thoughts mixed with mist…
Whirls the wind, whirls the wind, whirls the wind!...



Music picks: Hussain Al Jasmi: Boushret Kheir

Boushret Kheir mean "good omen". Good omen from Egypt? you may ask, if you follow the political and social struggles this country is going through at the moment. And the more you think about it the more you love this song. Because this is what is needed most in Egypt. Good news. People that stand together, dancing and laughing. People from all over Egypt, regardless of skin tone, political orientation and religion. Together. Dancing. Celebrating.
Hussain Al Jassmi is a singer from the United Arab Emirates. Lyrics with English translation here.


Music Picks: El Dey - Maria

Sun is shining today, summer feeling around, so my song you today is perfect for a summer night party at the beach.

El Dey (named after a part of Algeria's capital, the district "Hussein Dey") is a new band consisting of four really nice guys playing the guitar and singing since they went to college together. Their music is fresh and hilarious. A song bursting with optimism and the simple fun of doing something pleasant with some friends is a rare exception; the social, political and economic situation in Algerian is a desaster especially for young people.  
The song Maria a mixture of Spanish and Algerian musical elements tells us the story you can easily understand from the video clip; a beautiful foreign girl comes around and the Algerian boy falls immediately in love with her; their story goes on via facebook, but he doesn't get the necessary visa to join her and she doesn't write anymore. As he is devastated his mother tells him to look at the beautiful girls from his quarter, and in fact he gets married and is happy. 
This short tongue-in-cheek song tell a lot about the reality of young men in Algeria; dreams of going abroad and to leave the boredom of the own country ends when the family decides to get the lad married; in the end, what can a girl from abroad offer a girl from home doesn't have?
Read a short interview here.


Long time

Gosh, something has to happen to this blog! I realized that I did not post anything almost for a year now! Awwww, ok, I had a lot of work, finished my PhD thesis, took part in Helene Eriksen's dance project ANAR DANA, and so on. But enough with excuses. Now, let's go to work!
Ok, now two new projects I want to realize here, that will hopefully bring some movement to this sleeping blog.
ONE: As you all know my husband is from the beautiful country of Algeria, a land geographically not far from Europe, but very neglected from the rest of the western world. During our last trip I had the feeling that I could finally manage the language (after seven years of marriage it seems very late to me. But since my approach to languges is very academic, a language without a written base, with no dictionary to check was very difficult to grasp. With my notions of classical Arabic I had some clues, but it felt like being given a German grammar for somebody who wanted to learn Svedish), and finally have the impression that I could understand some of the things people are thinking and doing. At least a little bit better than before. So I will start a series of thoughts here in loose order, stay tuned!

Second, and this will defintely the fun part, I will share some of my oriental and folk music pickings, some old, some new, but worth to listen to (once again).

Have fun!

So, my picking for today is a cute, tongue-in-cheek modern interpretation of a very famous traditional Georgian folk song with beautiful dancing scenes with and without national costumes. The band's name is BANI, and I couldn't find out more than that, anyway, enjoy some fresh Georgian Popfolk!
BTW: The dance is called Lekuri, also known as Lezginka, a common dance in the whole Caucasian Area! 


Joy of Dancing: Kazakh Folk Dance Kara Zhorga

Now that's great I spend every day a lot of time browsing through youtube and call it "research" ... My new love is a Kazakh folk dance called Kara Zhorga (Qara Jorğa - K'ara Zhorg'a - Қара Жорға). It has been nominated for inscription in 2013 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
One first example is a TV version featuring boys and girls in national garments:

 From the description (read full text here):

... According to A.Ismailov “Kara-Zhorga is a dance that embodies a variety of nuances and techniques. It combines bellicosity and buffoonery, tender pace and mobility, speed and calm grace” [...] Kara-Zhorga dance reproduces a picture of a traditional horse competition called bayge. "... Traditionally village residents gather for a feast (called “toy” in Kazakh). Young and cheerful horsemen step out from the crowd and start dancing - bending their bodies slightly forward, harshly swinging with their whips and eagerly entering in rhythmic competition. Young horsemen move in circles, lines and diagonals, out run each other, demonstrating agility of a leap or an intricate hop. The dance imitates horserace – rhythmically sharp-cut hops from one foot to another and big leaps with curving of a body compose major dance technique. A sharp-cut, rough and springy folk tune of Kara-Zhorga dance and the movement that coincides with the horserace rhythm, gracefully merge into a single image of bold horsemen – called “zhigit” in Kazakh, who master equestrian skills with their finger tips” (Sarynova, 1976: 37).
National dress
Overall the dance shows the agility skills and cheerful enthusiasm of a horseman who fully masters the art of riding a horse. [...]

The first notes of Kara-Zhorga dance were taken by artist and choreographer Aubakir Ismailov in 1928 during the meeting with Akhtai Mamanov, chief of amateur-talent group based at Kazkomuna boarding school in Petropavlovsk (city in northern Kazakhstan). [...]

In the pictures are some contemporary national Kazakh costumes; how can you not love those oodles of fluffiness, ruffles and trumpet sleeves?

Performers in traditional Kazakhstan costume 
Nowadays the dance is often performed at big social gatherings, celebration of festive events and even as a flashmob.

And some words about the spiritual meaning of the dance from the same document:

Researchers pay particular attention to initial sacral meaning of Kara-Zhorga, for the dance was mostly performed during “Shildekhana” ritual (feast in the name of newborn). Therefore Kara-Zhorga performance is closely linked with the time of child’s first initiation to the World, his/her acquaintance with the family and surrounding society. This period of human life along with the spiritual initiation and obsequies played most important role in nomadic culture.
Performing Kara-Zhorga for a newborn child aimed at introducing him/her with nomadic lifestyle, life on top of a horse. The tempo of the dance is sought to transmit the nomad’s main attitude to the reality of life; it sets up principal direction for future life of a newborn – meaning the way forward despite the obstacles, way of optimism and mobility. Moreover, performanc e of Kara-Zhorga bears purification and protective properties for both the child and the audience present. Appearing as a ritual and spiritual act, Kara-Zhorga gradually started to inherit characteristics of every day life. Owing to its deep semantic and symbolic meaning, Kara-Zhorga has been very popular among people over a long period of time, gradually acquiring new distinctive properties and styles.
Nowadays, Kara-Zhorga dance embodies the brightest features of Kazakh people and modern Kazakhstan, like – courage, vitality, musicality and mobility harmoniously intertwined with the scenery of beautiful and vast steppes. 

The whole thing looks like lots of fun if danced in a group among friends. On a more artistic level Kazakh ethnic dance presents all the finesse of Oriental stage dances with opulent costumes, delicate hand movements and hazardous backbends, as featured it this video by the magical Uighur dancer Dilnar Abdullah:


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