Viewers of a pan-Arab talent show were mesmerized after hearing a participant from Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan singing in Kurdish and for the first time in the show’s history.
Despite not understanding Barwas Hussien when she sung in Kurdish, the Arab Idol’s audience was enthralled and applauded her performance on Friday.
Hussien impressed the show’s Arab viewers when she sung an iconic Syrian star Sabah Fakhry’s “Qadoak al-Mayas,” or “Your soft cheeks,” song, which is a hardcore colloquial Arabic, but in Kurdish.
Her debut in the Arab talent show galvanized attention, when she first auditioned. She sang “Enta Omri,” or “You are my life,” song for Egyptian diva Umm Kolthoum’s in Arabic.
While Hussien is not fluent in Arabic, her spoken Arabic is accent-free.
The contestant tediously writes the songs in Arabic, tries to understand the full meaning and completely memorizes them.
When first attempted to sing and impress the judges during the tryout stage, she was accompanied by her friend Farhank Jamil, who acted as a Kurdish-Arabic translator during her conversation with the show’s judges. Captivated by her voice, the four panelists passed her to the next stage.
Ragheb Alama, a famed Lebanese singer and one of the show’s judges, praised Hussein’s singing on Friday and encouraged her to sing in Kurdish.
Alama said Hussein’s singing in Kurdish, links Kurdistan’s art with the Arab world.
Also, the Lebanese star and judge at Arab Idol, Nancy Ajram, also impressed by Hussien, asked the Kurdish participant to teach her how to sing in the Kurdish language.
“You made me try to understand what you were singing…I wish you can teach me sing a Kurdish song. I would love to sing with you,” Ajram said during the show on Friday.
Kurdistan in Iraq is home for around five million people. Political disputes inside Iraq and the region stood against forming an independent Kurdish state and have marred Arab-Kurdish relations.
Iraq having the first Kurdish president in the Arab world didn’t stop Kurds from wanting more independence from Baghdad.