August 31, 2007 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Qaraami music is from Somalia. In qaraami style you sing and play an embellished melody on the oud, and maybe with some drums. The Somali diaspora have taken it everywhere. I just heard it for the first time in Shafeq's taxi in Wellington. With luck, it will flourish in its home again.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen (8 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I said, what is this song about? And he said, it's all about love, brother, it's all about love.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:17 PM on August 31, 2007

Cool post - are you familiar with Anouar Brahem from Tunisia? I recommend him highly.

posted by vronsky at 9:47 PM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

There is just something so lovely about the tone of an oud. Hypnotic.
posted by vronsky at 10:42 PM on August 31, 2007

Thanks joe, thanks vronsky.
posted by Mblue at 10:43 PM on August 31, 2007

You're welcome, Mblue, and thanks Vronsky - I'm listening now. Brahem's music sounds more clearly Arabic and less African to my ears, though I can't really put my finger on why.

I only had my hands on an oud the once, and it was pretty damned tricky. The one I tried had paired strings, and the scale length seemed awfully short considering the pitch it was tuned to, so those strings felt thick and flabby compared to, say, a modern acoustic guitar.

What blows me away is how the oud playing mirrors the tune they're singing but is far more decorated. First up, I just can't do that; and second, it's a totally different style of accompaniment to the chord-strumming style of modern Western music. I loves me that oud-picking, and now I'm thinking about how that might be incorporated into other styles of music with other plucked instruments. And the qaraami style definitely sounds African to me. I might have to dig out some ethnomusicology books to understand what's going on there.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:23 PM on August 31, 2007

Mate. Last time I took Shafeq's cab, I was asking him what the music was actually about, lyrically speaking. Time and again, it was just some guy singing about some girl.

Flash forward a couple of months and I'm sitting in Brighton after a hard night out on the tiles, listening to the music of Afganistan. Turns out, it's just some guy singing about some girl.

The moral of this story is: When it's just some guy singing about some girl - it becomes infinitely funnier at 3:00am if you provide translation for the vocals in your best deadpan BBC voice to be a lament about how your favourite goat fell off a cliff. This holds true in every conceivable case..

Regards to the Shaf.
posted by Sparx at 11:46 PM on August 31, 2007

(and I also found this - which gives some background on Qaraami's identity for the rest of us culturally ignorant folk who had not yet heard of the oud)
posted by Sparx at 11:57 PM on August 31, 2007

some westerners definitely learn their own way to play the oud. I dig anouar brahem because he's really focused and authentic . But I like Titi Robin too, who is from France and has learnt to play some eastern string instruments and has written music for them.
posted by nicolin at 11:08 AM on September 1, 2007

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