Qifa Nabki Comments

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News and commentary from the Levant
Updated: 18 hours 58 min ago

Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Mon, 2014-10-13 01:02

AP,

Gabriel had me exactly right as an Anglophile. I spent a few summers in London while growing up and developed a deep love for everything English, especially their comedy and their television which I think are way superior to what we have here in the United States. I love the fact that PBS and NPR syndicate some of their programming from the BBC.

Which brings me to my quick guesses of answers to your questions. I didn’t look into it in too much detail, but I think this video was taken from a show called “Proms” that is broadcast by the BBC in England. From what I understand, it’s filmed in the Victoria and Albert Hall in London and is a concert series, a bit like “Austin City Limits” on PBS here in the US.

As to why some of the players are wearing keffiyas, again I’d guess that they’re Palestinian students, probably from Ramallah or somewhere like that. From my experience, only Palestinians still wear keffiyas in settings like this.

It’s no secret that classical music is in crisis. Our symphony orchestra here in the US where I live is so broke and so dysfunctional that I joke that they’d make millions from a reality show depicting how they struggle with everyone and everything for funding and good salaries.

Basically, to spice up the genre, some classical music outfits are doing a lot of unorthodox things like this “fusion” composition that’s going on here, which to be honest with you I have mixed feelings towards. But then again, it’s been hundreds of years so maybe Vivaldi’s Four Seasons could do with some sprucing up and some re-interpretation, at the very least to keep things fresh and exciting, and the repeat customers/”cool kids” still coming back for more.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Mon, 2014-10-13 00:19

Gabriel, Samer,

Yes, your link is an Arabic version of Vivaldi ‘ s Four Seasons. I wonder where this was performed, and why the performers were wearing kaffiyas?

Fyi, I took 10 yrs of violin lessons, but I eventually reached a plateau and became too frustrated to continue. It required a LOT of practicing.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Mon, 2014-10-13 00:13

Well I should have written for some not so inexplicable ;).

While on topic, I’m a huge fan of Claude Chalhoub. Not sure if you’ve come across his work.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sun, 2014-10-12 23:09

Gabriel,

First off, thanks a lot for sharing that! I really enjoyed it! To explain the association, perhaps you remember that I used to play second violin in an amateur orchestra “back home”. But I was never, ever this good! That smiling soloist kid with the keffiya around his neck was frickin’ brilliant!

We used to do mostly holiday shows, so yeah, I’m very familiar with these pieces. I know Beethoven’s 1st, 2nd, 5th and 9th symphonies quite well, Pachelbel’s Canon of course which gets boring after a while, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for sure, Handel’s Messiah, the typical stuff. I’m sure we did some Mozart and Bach but it was so long ago that I don’t remember which pieces exactly. We once did Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, which was fun!

Here’s the thing: I HATED practicing my violin in those days, because tuning the damn thing to the right pitch was always a struggle for me! I liked to play, but I hated to tune, and a violin has to be tuned before every sitting! Nothing in my youth was more frustrating than spending 20 minutes tightening 4 damn metal strings across a bridge, only to have them relax again shortly afterwards when wood slipped against wood! Aargh! Damn it!

It was only years later, when I was in America, that I discovered digital tuners for guitars and violins. That was huge and made things so much easier for me, and my play improved tremendously within a short time, and practicing finally became fun instead of a tough slog. But it was years too late for my amateur orchestra days, which I remember with a humbling dose of embarrassment! Trust me, I was doing a whole lotta faking in those days, just to meet schedules and avoid catastrophe!

Oh, and by the way, I also played the piano, but that was a far more private affair! Again, not nearly as well as I could have if I took it more seriously at the time. But alas, as the saying goes, “Youth is wasted on the young!” :)

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Sun, 2014-10-12 19:08

Mustafa/Iceman,

Sawed off any heads recently? All has been quiet on the ISIS front in recent days. That coupled with QN’s dry spell is forcing me and poor Sam to exchange YouTube videos.

What’s the latest on the wise kingdom front?

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sun, 2014-10-12 07:10

Gabriel,

Here’s your Saturday night consolation prize, a trippy, sublime and utterly original song by Lhasa de Sela, whose mother was Jewish Lebanese, with mesmerizing percussions and a magnificent accompaniment by Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. Make sure to listen all the way through to the end:

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Sun, 2014-10-12 05:04

Mr. Nasser,

Sorry. We must have had a glitch in our computer system. You both check out and we regret any inconvenience to you and your family.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sun, 2014-10-12 04:47

AP,

Just in case you’re being serious, I want to inform you that that poor doctor you linked to is definitely not me!

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Sun, 2014-10-12 03:15

Gabriel,

Not to worry. We’ve been following this jihadist for a while. He lives a double life as a medical doctor.

http://m.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-samer-nasser-2r4bm

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Sun, 2014-10-12 02:41

I didn’t ask you to divulge anything, otherwise I would have asked more prying questions. I could also look you up and send an email, but if I were wrong, of simply end up embarrassing myself. I’d much rather keep the question lingering and the curiosity festering!

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sun, 2014-10-12 00:13

Oops! Gabe, I posted that before reading your ‘Posh Nosh’ compliment. Thanks a lot for that. Yes, I’m trying here! I have plans to scale up my web presence and do more writing and outreach-type stuff in the future but work and my personal life get in the way for now and swallow up all my time. I also need to get over my fear of how the Internet might blow up in my face. I’ll sort through all this stuff eventually, so just be patient! In the meantime, there are I think 9 Posh Nosh episodes on YouTube, so get cracking and watch them all! :)

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sun, 2014-10-12 00:07

Gabriel,

Chill out, dude! You’re creeping me out a little bit.

I’m sorry but there’s no way I am going to divulge any more personal information here than I already have, and I definitely don’t want you guessing aloud. Frankly, it’s not safe. You shouldn’t be asking me to. I mean, I’m stupid but I’m not that stupid! Note that I am not asking anyone here to reveal more about themselves than they want to. Again, I don’t recommend it because it’s not safe. A name and a general back story should suffice, to slightly overcome the fact that anonymity warrants no trust whatsoever. But any more than that is just plain foolish, unless of course one already lives on the Internet and can be googled and contacted off-line like some of the professors who comment here (or at least used to) do.

It really isn’t a big deal anyway. Maybe one day I’d have more of a web presence than hanging around here and you’d be able to search and contact me off-line through e-mail and then I’d respond to you and we’d have a private conversation. But today is not going to be that day, because I’m not equipped like that yet.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Sat, 2014-10-11 23:43

.. As for Posh Nosh, I think you’ve more than surpassed your goals! I think we can all describe your posts as posh nosh. And wonderfully delicious at that.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Sat, 2014-10-11 23:39

Samer,

I’m convinced I know you.

The curiosity is killing me.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sat, 2014-10-11 20:43

Thanks Gabe, and I’m very glad to be of assistance. One of my goals here, especially on the weekends, is to be as subversively conceited, obnoxious and sophomoric as these guys:

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Gabriel

Sat, 2014-10-11 05:38

I f%&$ing love reading Samer’s posts!

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Sat, 2014-10-11 00:11

So file this under “interesting”:

My local contemporary art museum, which I defer to for all matters art, design, culture and cool, is plodding along with its performing arts season that starts every year in the fall, and later this month, they’re hosting a Syrian singer from Ras Al Ayn in Al Hasaka for an evening performance.

His name is Omar Souleyman and I was intrigued enough to look up some of his music videos on YouTube. I quickly decided “Hell, no!” on whether I would attend. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when I got snookered into sitting through a performance of Lebanese playwright/actor Rabih Mroue’s “Looking for a Missing Employee” which, with all due respect, was a frickin’ disaster!

Anyway, in the process of doing my diligence, I came across this fantastically fun review of Omar Souleyman’s music, which just happened to be published in late 2010/very early 2011, right before the onset of the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East. It’s not perfect, mind you. It has its share of spelling errors throughout and I have no idea what the “AoE tache” referred to in the opening sentence is, but still, check it out for a laugh:

http://www.andymorganwrites.com/omar-souleyman-love-him-or-hate-him/

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Fri, 2014-10-10 18:03

Palestine is looking for Foreign Investment. Give Generously.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The new Palestinian unity government toured Gaza and held a Cabinet meeting there for the first time Thursday, aiming to assure donor countries that absolute Hamas control has ended and that it can lead the rebuilding of the war-battered territory.

http://news.yahoo.com/palestinian-unity-cabinet-hold-first-gaza-meet-054917935.html

Still, the situation remains volatile. Hamas refuses to disband its security forces, even though it promises to support the new government of independent experts.

Those security forces were in full view Thursday as the ministers inspected neighborhoods that were badly damaged in this summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

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