Music: Attracting souls by beauty and perfection

Back in 2004 in Downtown Beirut, my friend Abdou Wazen, the Lebanese poet who wrote Nar al Awda (The fire of return), a poetry book that is so dear to my heart, and I had walked out of the building where the Al Hayat newspaper was based. As we walked out, we saw the daughter of Sidon with her usual smile. It was Hiba Kawas, the musician and opera singer, whose mother wrote in her memoirs that her daughter who was only two years old at the time woke up the neighbors with her opera voice.

Before coming to Beirut, I had read about Kawas’s experience and listened to some of her work. At the time she had only released one music CD. This was because her personal involvement in her work and her focus on details makes the production process take a long time, sometimes even years.

She writes her own music, composes it and talks with the poets, most of whom she has old friendships and relationships with, since it is crucial that there is harmony between the poetic text, the music and the operatic singing performed by Kawas.

The nature of fast culture, music that is written in a rush, and the consumptive music of satellite channels, make Hiba Kawas and similar artists appear as if they live in isolation, not wanting to be close to the general public. However, it is quite the opposite actually

Hassan Al Mustafa

Meeting Kawas

The quick meeting was an opportunity to get to know Hiba Kawas, with whom I have met again several times later. Because I didn’t come to Beirut very often, my absence would increase the distance between many of my friends and I in the city that has never left the soul of its lover, and that remained like a permanent tattoo and a tank full of memories, comfort and delightful wishes.

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Kawas belongs to a group of Arab artists who are unknown to the public because of the nature of the musical field, which is seen by many as elitist in character: the opera.

In its essence, opera attracts a specific crowd of people, who have a special taste and accept art not just as music one can enjoy, but as a lifestyle, a special perspective of existence around us, a personal taste, and an aesthetic education. It is also a discipline with roots and rules. And before all, it is a transparent spirit that takes one towards the light that he sees within himself.

Uplifting musical taste

The nature of fast culture, music that is written in a rush, and the consumptive music of satellite channels, make Hiba Kawas and similar artists appear as if they live in isolation, not wanting to be close to the general public. However, it is quite the opposite actually, as every artist wants to be in touch with people and hold many concerts attended by thousands of fans.

The nature of the “market” is what created this obstacle and forced us to listen to “cabaret songs, not folk songs,” as described by Kawas who added: “I think the natural sense never ends, instead it sleeps and ends up in dust and dirt; (thus) it only needs cleaning to reach it once again.”

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“Few are seriously working to protect our humanitarian (sense),” she said. Out of these few, the General Authority for Culture in the Kingdom organized a music concert for Kawas in the capital Riyadh among the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr.

These kinds of initiatives must increase in more than one city and on more occasions. People should be introduced to the arts that do not only offer pleasure but also improve their musical culture so they acquire a new taste that reflects on people’s lifestyle. It is the role that is calmly and deeply carried out by arts without claiming it or loudly announcing it!

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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