Saudi music legend Abdu’s new video rakes up a storm

Updated 28 August 2013
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Saudi music legend Abdu’s new video rakes up a storm

A new video clip released on the first day of Eid by “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdu has disappointed his fans, who say the song, in which the singer is wearing a Western attire and includes dance scenes, does not suit his grand status and age.
The song is called ‘Wahda be Wahda,’ Arabic for ‘one for one,’ and is directed by Kuwaiti director Yaqoub Al-Muhanna. Abdu’s fans criticized his new video on social media platforms, where they vented their embarrassment. Many of them say the Saudi singer did a huge mistake by agreeing to do the video because it was more suitable for a young singer and not for an legend of the Arab world.
“When I first saw it I thought it was a prank because Mohammed Abdu is always singing the national anthem and the lyrics for his songs are usually written by Saudi royalty,” tweeted Amal Al-Qahtani.
“Imagine the late opera singer Pavarotti appearing in a video clip for Snoop Dogg. This action doesn’t suit giants, because every artist has his own style, which he built over the years. The video clip it is a setback, not an evolution,” said Raja Sayer Al-Mutairi, editor of the entertainment page in Al-Riyadh daily newspaper.
“This video clip is acceptable from a younger singer like Lebanese singer Meriam Fares or Egyptian singer Saad Elsoghayar because it is more of their style but Mohammad Abdo has never filmed anything like that during his long singing career. I find the Kuwaiti director, Yaqoub Al-Muhanna, quite daring to film this kind of a song. I hold Yaaqoub responsible for distorting the image of Mohammed Abdu, for he chose a style that doesn’t suit the age of the artist and his status, not to mention the fact that the filming isn’t compatible with the lyrics of the song. I don’t know why he chose to film the video clip in a club when the song is all about a man addressing his beloved,” he said.
Another tweep Ammar Ashour said Abdu ruined his reputation with the amateur video clip. “I don’t know what he was thinking and what he was trying to proof. He is already a legend and he does not need improvement. He lost many fans because of this song,” he said.
The director should have studied the audience before working on the clip, said tweep Najlaa Al-Mutairi.
“When working with a legend such as Mohammed Abdu, one should always do their homework and know who they are dealing with,” she said. “Now I’m sure Al-Muhanna’s market value has gone down and many artists are going to refuse to work with him after he ruined Abdu’s reputation,” she added.
Journalist Salah Makhareesh tweeted: “The idea of filming a video clip doesn’t suit the artistic history of this legend; I wish he didn’t broadcast the whole thing.”
Fahad Zaidan, art editor in Al-Madinah daily, said: “Mohammad Abdu surprised everyone with this clip that doesn’t go with his status. He made a big mistake and distorted his reputation. He would have deplored other singers if they did the same. It will be best for Abdu to quit singing and maintain his dignity, because staying will stain his reputation even more.”
Managing editor of Al-Nadi newspaper Naeem Tamem Al-Hakim said that Arab artistic and music history is replete with emotional and nationalistic songs. “These songs and the songs of the late artist Talal Maddah enriched the Saudi music history.”
“This song was not only a failure but it was like falling into the swamp of youth songs that contradict Abdu’s long artistic history, which is filled with creativity and innovation,” said Al-Hakim.
“He should quit now on demand to maintain his reputation,” he added.


Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster, one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.