Saturday, October 11, 2008

Asalah - Sawaha Galbi

After the massive success of Awgat in 2004, Asalah promised another full-length Khaliji/Gulf dialect album. Three years on, and after the release of Aadi and Hayati, she released Sawaha Galbi in the summer of 2007. Despite a luckluster promotional campaign, and the fact Asalah didn't shoot a single video for the album, it was extremely well-received amongst its target audience. Unlike the very traditional Awgat, Sawaha Galbi modernizes and mixes in new styles with many of the songs. Asalah also worked with more female poets, and even a new female Saudi composer, Leil. The album opens with the most popular song, La Tekhaf, which mixes traditional beats and strings with an R&B feel. Tabi Tetrekni starts off like a jazz song, and transitions into the traditional beats, maintaining a slow pace throughout. Sawaha Galbi is the most unique song on the album, with rebab solos and composition and percussion that is very foreign to the ears of those who do not regularly listen to Khaliji music. Omnia is duller than the preceding tracks, but is listenable with nothing overly exciting or offensive. Kelmat Sheker is a poem that expresses a girl's love for her father, and so the music is secondary to the lyrics. Egreb Gerib and Dirat El Gherba (written/composed by the same team behind Rawweh Ou Rouh) are both quintessential Emirati songs, composed by Fayez El Sa'id, who is nominated for an MTV EMA this year. Talabtek takes a completely different tone; a ballad with powerful arrangement and the kind of composition that allows Asalah to truly put her vocals at work and shine. The album closes with another ballad, Shomoukh Ezi, which is written and composed by female Saudi poet Mo'taza and composer Leil, and arranged by Egyptian arranger Medhat Khamis. Asalah proved once again her mastery of Khaliji music, and how good music succeeds without being propped up by a music video or massive ad campaign.


1. La Tekhaf
2. Tabi Tetrekni
3. Sawaha Galbi
4. Omnia
5. Kelmet Sheker
6. Egreb Gerib
7. Dirat El Gherba
8. Talabtek
9. Shomoukh Ezi

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Anonymous said...

Greetings from Portugal, I just love your blog because it lets us to know good oriental music... thank you! :D

Tabbouche said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, and you're welcome :D!

chsf said...

I love this album, it proves how versatile Khaliji music can be; the album - albeit being typically short (9 tracks only) - offers both club joints with beats so fresh that it would make Timbaland turn green in envy, and slow jams for special rendezvous or just chillin', the latter steering clear of the conservative sound most downtempo Khaliji songs I have heard tend to adopt. My favourite is the title track, the rhythm section is awesome, the vocal arrangement is stellar, and it has an overall unique sound while maintaining a clearly distinct Khaliji sound.

Tabbouche said...

Thanks for your comment, chsf, and you're right the title track doesn't get half of the credit it deserves! It's worth noting also that Asalah worked with both Egyptian and Khaliji arrangers, another reason why she got a such a fresh and distinct album.