Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Didi..

Well, it's not really Happy Birthday 'DIDIii..' but happy birthday Rebecca. My youngest turned 5 at the beginning of this week and one of her presents was a cd of Backyardigan music. Now to those sans young kids, you're drawing a blank and are probably getting ready to click your way to the next interesting thing..BUT.. if you have heard parents having (had) to endure Barney or the Teletubbies, you probably envision something horrible and waaay too childlike for any adult to enjoy.
If there is one kid show that even adults can enjoy, it actually is the Backyardigans. Created by Janice Burgess the Backyardigans is an animated series that feature 5 preschool 'kids' (different animals) who meet up in their communal backyards (you know, where people don't have fences) and make up a story and their backyard turns into one of those environments they imagine (castle, the Canadian Yukon etc). As a grown up you can appreciate and understand a child's view of how they play act and on top of that, it's done in an intelligent AND funny way.

One of their defining characteristics is their use of music. Every episode uses a musical genre; spaghetti western, reggea, flamenco, big band, zydeco etc. My daughter also got another Backyardigan dvd that featured the music genre 'rai'. When I told my son (who's 10 and also likes a lot of the music) that it sounded arabic, I had to look it up and voila, it was. Well, to be exact, this is RAI:

Raï (Arabic: رأي) is a form of folk music, originated in Oran, Algeria from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French, African and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s and has been primarily evolved by women in the culture. The word raï is Arabic for “opinion.”

Singers of raï are called cheb (young) as opposed to sheikh (old) the name given to Chaabi music singers; the tradition arose in cities like Oran and elsewhere in Tlemcen, primarily among the poor. The word raï means literally opinion but is colloquially used as an interjection along the lines of oh, yeah! Traditionally sung by men, at the turn of the 20th century, female singers became common. Rai musicians, as early as the 1930's, were singing about social issues which affected their arab colonies. They ranged from disease to the police of the colonies. [1] Much like today's rap stars and hip-hop artists they sung about the current issues around them which was indeed revoluationary for their time.[2] It's popularity not only taken the traditional sounds of the Middle East and "updated" it, but pop rai' reputation as a racy type of music has also influenced a fusion between rai and rock and several other "up and coming" styles

So that reminded me of a very popular song in the early 90s which I found on Youtube (gotta love it) so here's my offering of 'rai' to you for the weekend;

Khaled - Didi

Happy birthday rebeccalekkadingdong! (she said lovlingly)


Blogger betmo said...

bet that goes over like a lead balloon with the hardline muslims. they probably as much as our evangelicals like rap ;) i have indeed heard of the backyardigans- my mom leaves the pbs cartoons on for my sister's elderly cat- who enjoys the teletubbies and calliou. :)

8:40 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

oh lord, I always hated that calliou! who wants to watch a sniffly little whiny kid when you got one at home with 'whiny issues'?? (little kiddies have their moments)
The backyardigans are on cable (nickjr) and since I am against all those marketing ads directed at kids, we have no more cable. Hence the many dvds. I think that there are plenty of moderate/modern muslims who enjoy Western or fusion music than there are hardliners. They are just not as visible. I saw plenty of that when I lived in Saudi Arabia.


8:01 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

well, i have to say i liked the video and the music- i have no idea what they were singing about- but it was a catchy song :)

9:19 PM  

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