Out of all the protest songs we have listened to this semester, I do not think we have listened to one as confrontational as “Rais Lebled.” Up until now, protest music has mostly been bands or musicians voicing their opinions by essentially complaining about certain issues in their music lyrics. However, in “Rais Lebled,” the General takes it a step further, by directly addressing the president of Tunisia and “calling him out” on not helping the people. By blaming all of the issues in Tunisia on the president, the General takes a much more hostile approach that most likely is what gets him arrested, as mentioned in the beginning of the video. Additionally, the genre of music is now rap as opposed to being folk or rock as it was before, which also sets “Rais Lebled” apart from the other songs we have seen.
The song “Bahrain Unite” intrigues me a lot. After hearing the whole song, we can find that it is an anti-war song. It appeals every Bahraini to give up their animosity among each other. Unlike other anti-war songs such as Blowin’ In The Wind and Where Have All The Flower Gone, it has a bright melody and brisk rhythm. The lyrics describes a beautiful scene that every Bahraini lives happily together. In the first part of the song, there is a sentence says:“red like our blood, white like our heart.” White and red are two colors on the national flag of Bahrain; during the war time, red is the representative of blood and white is the symbol of cadaver. But if we can make the world a place with no wars, white and blood will become two colors mean passion and love.
In all protest songs we listened for this semester, I think the song “fight the power” impressed me the most. The lyrics of the song is quite aggressive. At that time period, the blacks are alienated from the society. Surprisingly, this protest song was published and performed in front of the public. In addition, the rhythm and tempo of the song is very tense, which expressed blacks’ dissatisfactions towards the circumstance in the society. The song did not actually possess a soothing melody. Rather, just like rap style, the singer outrageously spoke out corrupt aspect of the society and yearned for a change. Overall, “Fight the Power” successfully incorporates the rap element which corresponds the protest against discriminated society.
The song “Rais Lebled” is a very interesting protest song in my opinion. The singer, “El General,” not only expresses his own voice in this song, but rather the voice of every civilian Tunisia. And in this voice, El General begins by directly confronting “Mr. President.” El General wastes no time adding lyrics that are potentially difficult to understand; from the beginning of the song, he “approaches” the president with a direct, firm, and passionate protest. His protests in this song are very clear and specific: “Mr. President your people is dead/ many people eat from garbage/ and you see what is happening in the country/ misery everywhere and people who have not found a place to sleep” (19-22). In these lyrics, El General protests of the miserable lifestyle of the civilians of Tunisia. There is no ambiguity in the artists words here. Part of the reason of the lack of vagueness in El General’s lyrics is due to the fact that he is responsible for attempting to ensure a change. His music, like many of the protest songs we have listened to in the class, was not for enjoyment purposes. El General possesses the message of the people, and he must deliver it to the authorities and the public in a clear, firm manner.
“The protest songs are speaking for the people, and they are speaking like the people” (3) This phrase from the article is a very assertive one when describing protest songs. For instance in the song by Ramy Essam the people participate actively with the singer. These people feel that the song helps them get their point across and it is even more powerful because, as it is mentioned in the article, the song is composed of popular slogans that the protesters themselves used for their protest. So powerful was their sentiment of protest that even after the repression they restored their protest sites and continued with the protest. So it is interesting how the protest songs play an important role in these protest movements.
Reading the description of the video of “The real revolution song of Tahrir square” shocked me, because the singer Ramy Essam and the band MASHAKEL performed the song in the midst of the Egyptian revolution. The audience was clapping and singing along as this revolution song became an anthem for those who were against Mubarak. It was a song that rallied a large crowd of people even though they knew they were going to be attacked by Mubarak’s army. After the attack on Tahrir Square, Essam was saying how he would not stop singing until Mubarak was gone and how he still had an invigorating spirit. Even after violence of stones, guns, and other weapons, the spirit of the revolution song was still strong. The interviewer even asked Essam where his guitar was to which he replied he had it, and he would not stop singing. There is a certain power with music that unites people to believe in a cause, no matter how dangerous the cause may be. Throughout the semester, we heard a lot of American revolution songs so it is interesting to see how a different society protests their rights. In a country with much less human right rights than the United States, the people are brave enough to sing and voice their opinions.
El General’s song the voice of tunisia was the most interesting song out of the ones selected. The song incorporates lots of lyrics that are straight to the point and the source. He doesn’t use ambiguous phrases like the man, instead he says Mr. President and lists the qualms he has with what is going on in his country. He says people are dying, starving, and are miserable. His song is not like many raps songs, it had a message that isn’t a bout himself but is for the people of tunisia. The tone he uses really captures his feeling of anger and desperation. Without even looking at the lyrics you can tell he is mad about something.
The song “Bahrain Unite,” is a modern protest song. It is unlike any other song we have listened to this semester in that it starts by bringing out all the good things in Bahrain and laster in the lyrics demonstrate the hate and war that there country has had to deal with. It is interesting to watch the music video because it really potray’s this message that they are trying to send to the listeners.
In the YouTube video, “The real revolution song of Tahrir square,” the supporters risk their lives in order to dethrone Hosni Mubarak. This protest song unites the people of Egypt under one cause, which is fighting for their individual freedoms. I am intrigued by this video because of how dedicated these citizens are to receiving the rights and responsibilities they deserve. Each individual views his or her own life as unimportant in comparison to the goal of democracy. Without the leadership of Ramy Essam, this protest in Tahir Square would not have been orchestrated. One man has the ability to change the social structures of a nation simply by utilizing his musical talents in the form of a protest song.
All four of the songs really proved to me how realistic and current these issues are today. I believe passion is within all people who claim to be “artists;” however, just by listening and understanding these artists’ circumstances, I can tell how important it is for them to convey the “truthful” themes through protest music. In the third video, Ramy Essam-The real revolution song of Tahrir square, you suddenly begin to realize how much music has an influence over your thoughts and actions. The best part of the entire video was when singer Ramy Essam, having been wounded on the head by a rock, still was able to proclaim his love for music and need for protest.
I thought El General’s song “The Voice of Tunisia was one of the most powerful protests songs we have ever listened to in this class. Even without reading the lyrics I can tell that this man is extremely passionate about what he is saying simply from listening to the inflection of his voice. The reason for this passion becomes clear once I started to read the extremely direct and powerful lyrics that were aimed straight at the President of whom he addresses head on. El General wastes no time at getting his point across. He is not using metaphors like most rappers to show their hardships. This song is leaves no room for ambiguity. I also thought it was interesting how he brought up children multiple times in his lyrics. This I feel is a very good way to get listeners emotional involved especially how these explicit lyrics forces the audience to picture exactly what he is talking about. El General does not drop his intensity at all throughout the song allowing for an amazing performance that will hopefully bring about change.
The video of “the revolution song of Tahrir square” by Ramy Essam truly shocked me at my first watch. In the danger of losing their life, thousands of people got together in the square and protested Mubarak for his inhuman governing policies. Mubarak supporters attacked those people with stones, guns and swords. Nonetheless, in the morning of next day, the injured protestors still could smile to the shot. The smile represents their optimistic attitudes toward future and their beliefs that life will be ameliorated. The lyrics of the song are simple and plain, but the song vividly expresses the desperate feelings of those people gathering in the square. Having grown in peaceful environment, I have never experienced wars and turbulences, and thus, it is hard for me to imagine those people’s pains and pressures.
All of the four songs I listened for today intrigued me a lot. I was really impressed by the course of Eygptian revolution depicted in the songs and videos. The revolution came successful because everyone fought for that without considering his or her own life. The song severed to unite people together and really pushed the revolution a lot. I am kind of impressed by the fact that everyone has the ability to change history with his talent.
I didn’t remember that we had to write a blog post for today’s class. I hope this one still counts.
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