Shu Hal Iyyam – a critique

Shu Hal Iyyam

so there we were, after making sure our reservations were still there “unlike last time where they totally ignored our reservations” two weeks in advance, we got in and sat at one of the partitioned thingies on the side.

as always, there was a delay in the start of the show that lasted about 25 minutes…very well, what’s fair is fair, one of the instruments was delayed and that resulted in the show delay. so we ordered some drinks…a whopping 14 JD’s for three measly drinks! ah, but good music is on it’s way so we didn’t care all that much.

After all that, the band shows up and starts to play their first song after paying their tribute to the sponsors and all that. sitting 3 meters away from one of the speakers, i could immediately tell something was wrong…even though there was a delay,the mixing was a total shab and the instruments were over riding each other….also, the song itself was on the verge of being too boring. but when played at the end of the concert, it was stuck in my head for the next 2 hours…

but i got to give these guys SOME credit, i mean, first off it isn’t easy to perform live with all those instruments. plus, there was a lot of people and they could have been slightly intimidated. also, the Jordanian blogsphere might have made a little too much of a buzz about it and we expected too much. to be fair, not all the songs were boring, and some of the songs only had two or three slip ups…the PEAK was when they played shu hal iyyam by Zyad Rahbani “which i thought i would hear more of” when everyone went nuts including myself and my friend who also happens to be a big fan of Zyad. a little more into the show, about the last 15 minutes actually, the music started sounding better and more organized, even though the percussionist was a highly skilled one, they managed to slip up a few more times. now i’m sure that most of the people who will read this will be willing to chop my head off and would say that they only slipped up 3 times, but i paid close attention to their music cause i’m a musician myself.

now i’m not saying i didn’t enjoy it, i mean, after all, the music was not bad! it was good actually, not to the level i was expecting of a band that’s participating in that competition. so Far, Aziz Maraka and RAZ take the cake by a mile. Jadal was really good, just not quite as good. in fact, Jadal were the only guys who actually attempted to perform a little bit rather than just play their music which was refreshing to say the least. the ambiance last night was nice, not too crowded like Aziz’s concert, and not too deserted! and as always, i met a ton of people whom i haven’t met in ages! there concerts are proving to be a very popular meet up place and also, they are forming a cultural nexus where the people of jordan can discuss or form a strong opinion on some of the things that are going on in the cultural scene. which is truly commendable. i’m really proud of all the bands that participated and are going to participate, and the French cultural center has the biggest hand in this. and for that, i thank them.
Shu Hal Iyyam 2

All in all, it was an okay night that was a tad bit disappointing. hopefully i’ll have the privilege of seeing Shu Hal Iyyam again when they’re more planned and with better sound equipment because i refuse to believe that that’s the best they’ve got.

to all the bands, May the best band win. good luck.

Photography and words by Mazen Al-Ali, All Rights Reserved


~ by Mazz on 12 March, 2007.

9 Responses to “Shu Hal Iyyam – a critique”

  1. Its internesting that you are a musician your self yet you didnt mention how skilled Tareq el jundi is. By the cerdit of many jordanian “3aweedeh” Tareq proves to be among the top skilled ones, his piece “YASSAR” is with no doubt amazing.

    As for the songs taste and style, hmmm, well if you would ask me i would say that i enjoy Sho hal Ayyam style hundereds of times more than listening to Aziz Maraqa Ugly voice and moderate words (nice music though) or the no identity in Jadal music, there music caused me a severe headache several times so far.

    I am positive that Sho hal Ayyam can do way better, they did actually. The songs selection was not boring (i guess this is a matter of taste), the songs were amazing, with an objective, for a cause and uniquely with such an amazing oriental music and spirit.

  2. tulip, i’m not saying they sucked! but they could have done better. tareq al jundi IS good, but the thing is, not very challenging in his music! like you said, it’s a matter of taste!
    i’d have to agree with the identity issue with Jadal’s music, however they performed better than both aziz and shu hal iyyam “very few slip ups, well organized and their communication was good.”. the quality of aziz’s voice isn’t that great but he even acknowledges that, but his compositions are excellent!
    bottom line is that we could have seen a better performance last sunday, and i would gladly go see shu hal iyyam again if i had the chance cause they do have something to offer, i just think that they had too many issues to deal with at the last performance.

  3. tulip-
    how would you claim the “no identity” of Jadal, when they happen to be the pioneers of arabic rock music? can you mention one band who sound like them? or just because it’s rock it’s westernized?? i believe music belongs to no region btw. and if i were in your place, i wouldn’t really say Aziz’s voice ugly, cuz he knows how to sing, with the minor beauty of it. do you really think everyone who sings has a beautiful voice? some really don’t but they know how to use it and move others with it. as for shu hal ayyam, it was the least concert i was attentive to, it really didn’t move me AT ALL, excpet for 2 songs, and one of them is in English. and honestly people who enjoyed it, are those who already know the songs they performed not HOW they performed it. they could have done WAY MUCH better, i have to say.

  4. Well they’re still new:) I’ll make sure to pass you comments!

  5. hey everyone, I’m Ahmed Barakat the oudist of “Sign of Thyme”. I would not like to comment on the debate or any of the Courtyard events…. I would just like to pay a tribute to Tareq Al Jundi as an acknowledgment to his amazing skills, and “most importantly” his amazing thoughts and choices in Oud and Music in general.. 🙂

  6. hello people. I’m Rami the vocalist of jadal. I’m pleased to read all these comments you guys have posted. It’s refreshing to see how music in Jordan is really improving. I just would like to note that we really cannot compare bands with each other. Each band has it’s own identity, it’s own character, it’s own image. I mean you can’t compare ummmmm 3abdel 7aleem with celine dion for example, YES the difference is that much vast. All bands performed in the Courtyard has done it’s best, Im sure every band has its weaknesses and strengths, and im sure we will all improve by time if we take the people’s feedback into consideration. All of US “the bands” will change the whole image of JORDANIAN MUSIC. Guys we’re doing something different for Jordan. Best of luck to all.

  7. Rami, you just moved up a notch in my book! i’d like to thank you and all the other decent and good bands in jordan! you really are making a difference!
    Cheers! and thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi,
    I know I’m a little bit late to comment here, but I would like to.
    I’m Ala’a Ibrahim, the Bassist of Shu Hal Ayyam. I really thank you for your nice critique.
    If you may allow me, I would like to make a point clear. Shu Hal Ayyam is not a professional band, we are a collection of professionals and beginners in music, I’m a beginner myself. Most of us are employees who have to work in other fields, so we have little time to rehearse.

    Also for my personal opinion, this concert was too bad to be true, but I guess we are improving. The point is to reach people, and give them what we have, just to tell them there is other options than what the media give them (Like Ro***a, … etc.)

    I’m so glad that you found some interest in our band, I hope you could attend any of our future concerts, maybe you would enjoy it more, and find improvements in our performance.

  9. Dear All,

    This is Lama Hazboun, Co-founder of OrangeRed for music and cultural event management.. the idea of this competition came to mind one afternoon in 2006 where me and my partner sawsan habib were sitting brainstorming and talking about the music scene in jordan, what shall we do next, and how to help promote and unveal all these amazing talents we have in Jordan.. we came up with this idea of “bands competition”, we approached the French Cultural Center and yes the project came to light beggining of 2007.

    We were very optemistic about it.. we were shocked how this competition really did something and encouraged many bands to participate.. at the beggining we thought that we wont be able to find bands that could be up to the standard but we were wrong.. lots of bands were amazing, some of them performed for the first time together and they were just great… this proved that we have a lot of amzaing talents who have potential, and we all should be really proud of them with no exception, its true that some were amazingly good and others were fair and some were ok.. but we at OrangeRed are very proud and would like to thank all the bands who participated.

    Three bands made it to the final.. Jadal, Zeid hamarneh and Salam.. the final competition will take place on the 29th of January at the RCC and first place winner will be announced then. you are all invited to attend..

    Finally I would like to thank The French Cultural Center who made this project happen and our precious sponsors, ATICO & the Courtyard, Blue Fig, Sawt El Ghad, Play FM and OrangeRed team who worked hard on this. and thanks to the jordanian audience and all music lovers in Amman 🙂

    Lama Hazboun

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