Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wazza Reggae Hymns
The other night I attended a concert in Rawabet Theater. I really didn't know what I was attending but some friends were going. I had initially thought it was a play but thought to myself, why not? I haven't attended a concert in so long. My friend told me that those guys rocked and people would dance to their music.
The theater was packed, and it appeared that the band had a following. What struck me the most was the type of audience which I haven't been accustomed to. There were so many veiled girls in the audience and the extra shocking surprise of a niqabi woman.
I must admit, the energy was high. People were excited. I closed my eyes and the crowd I imagined based on what I heard is not the crowd I saw when I opened my eyes. Slowly but surely the crowd began to stand up and start moving. As I listened to the songs, they sounded like hymns more common in a Christian arena in the manner that God was addressed at least. These reggae hymns moved the crowd and a long line of veiled girls started dancing to the reggae music. The niqabi woman on the other hand did not stand up but started breast feeding her child.
I must admit it was a slightly strange sight and triggered many thoughts. I wondered if we were in dire need of dancing and were just waiting for an excuse to move our bodies. I also wondered if the same people who provided the fatwa that a hijab is compulsory would approve of this type of dance. Of course it's a meaningless debate because the hijab isn't compulsory except from a social perspective, rather than from religious reasoning. I also wondered about the music ensemble which contained 4 guitars and one drum set. A friend of mine who wasn't overly conservative had pointed out to me that stringed instruments are 'haram' (not allowed) in Islam. I was never able to verify this, but that such an idea exists means that someone out there must be preaching it.
It was a little perplexing when one of the guests of the band started singing ala Boy Zone meets Tamer Hosny. I wondered where the line between reggae hymns and pop music is drawn exactly and what was going on in the minds of these young girls. Probably nothing, as they grew accustomed to. To top off the night, an Egyptian came on and rapped in French and then proceeded to speak to the crowd. He told them that whites and blacks are Africans, and that Africa is about love and then the biggest revelation of the night, that even Asians are Africans.
After the grand revelation, I had to leave to sort out all this new information in my head, about Asians, dancing, hijab and music.