Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oriental tunes strike a chord

According to this Middle East Times article, Hebrew songs have unexpected fans - Gaza Arabs. And now the Israelis are gone, it's no longer necessary to hide away those Zionist CDs ....

"During the time he spent working in Israel, Mallahi discovered that many of his Palestinian coworkers also enjoyed listening to those Hebrew songs that had an oriental flavor. He started listening more, and became a fervent fan.

"Even when the first Palestinian intifada broke out in 1987, Mallahi and others like him remained hooked on these songs. It was the melodies, rather than the lyrics, that appealed to them.

"Israeli music had this special flavor that combines oriental and western instruments, producing an exotic tune that is comfortable to listen to," says 32-year-old Fadi Dohan, a tailor who used to work at an Israeli sewing factory in the Israeli town of Khadera.

"I know that most of the Israeli singers we listen to originally came from Arab countries like Morocco, Iraq and even Yemen," Dohan says. "They knew Arabic and some of them were brought up just like us, which explains their oriental tone," he adds.

"Indeed, it was not unusual for a Hebrew tape to have at least one Arabic song performed as an original by the Israeli singer or as an remake of famous Arabic songs."

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