“Sah Saha” by Nancy Ajram... The lost electronic marshmallow flavor

“Sah Saha” by Nancy Ajram… The lost electronic marshmallow flavor

Ajram’s songs have never been devoid of the electronic component (Anwar Amr/AFP)

Since the song “Akhasmak Ah”, which was included in the album “Ya Salam” released in 2003, produced by JJ Lamara, and the marketing and distribution of both “Relax N” and “Mega Star” companies, coquetry and dalal have been the main distinguishing features of the popular song that I presented to The Arab world, with great popularity, the Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram.
But Ajram is never, as many judge arbitrarily, a singer with modest musical capabilities, who relies only on coquetry and pampering in her songs, or in the artistic market’s terms: “temptation” and “excitement”. In 1998, she was fifteen years old, when she won the “Popular Tarab” award in a competition entitled Future Stars. Then she did not make her first artistic career except through the portal of the Lebanese Artists Syndicate. The principles of music and singing, before releasing two albums, were distinguished by the nature of modern tarab singing, which requires the singer to have a minimum level of purity of voice and soundness of chords.
Finally, on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, with the same gossip and pampering, and the Egyptian dialect, its distinctive trademark, Nancy Ajram’s new song “Sah Saha” became popular among the people. The lyrics were written by Ahmed Alaa, and composed by Moody Saeed. The video clip of the song achieved a viewership of more than 25 million on the YouTube platform, and this is a significant percentage, especially in view of a popular star that has passed through time, and is no longer as shining today, as it was the beginning of the third millennium.
What is new about the last song is the electronic flavor, a fashion that has become popular today, and is invading audio products everywhere, and not only in the Arab world. As for Ajram, she chose “Sah Sah Sah” to record in one of the studios in Los Angeles, USA, and that its electronic component be the first of a passing cooperation, with which the well-known American DJ artist Christopher Comstock, nicknamed Marshmello, who used to To hide his face, by wearing a cylindrical mask, through which he appeared in the video clip, reminiscent of the symbols of emotions used in digital writing, what is known as emoji.

The electronic effects that Marshmello introduced to the song “Sah Sah” were not only below expectations from an international star, but also heard a stylistic dissonance about Nancy Ajram’s cowardice and pampering. A cacophony, which reveals the ineffectiveness of importing fashion, as a mere marketing response to the spirit of the age, if it does not really harmonize, whether with the texture of the song or the piece, or the style and style of the singer, then it becomes an intrusive and extraneous interpretation, and the song ends through it like the serum of a song, whose strength is separated from what is traditional And the Arab mass of what is modern and Western mass.
In fact, Nancy Ajram’s songs have never been without an electronic component. Being a popular Arabic song in the Egyptian style, which distinguished the nineties of the last century, it had a lot of electronics, which was popular at the time. In addition to the various sounds of the keyboard, it has always been distinguished by a constant and regular rhythm, which consists of the sounds of the palm clapping, and it has been computer-programmed. Such an electronic sample, which is characterized by sharpness and height, lightness and grace, contributes to highlighting the oriental folk-dancing character of the song, and thus, emphasizing the features of coquetry and coquetry.
The dark, low, bottom beat of Marshmello’s “Sah Sah” echoes the underground sounds of mystery and excitement that characterize hip-hop and techno, enlivening the dark and suspicious atmosphere of western discotheques. This pulse belongs to the family of the so-called drum machine. And that was, in the beginning, an independent device that synthesizes sounds according to patterns that can be manipulated and reproduced programmatically, to act on behalf of the drummer, in light of the stability of the rhythm that characterizes the pop song, and the absence of the need to keep pace with time and improvisation during performance on the stage, as is the case in musical colors Others, such as rock and jazz.
Today, audio synthesizers, such as the Drum Machine and similar, have become soft equipment, that is, digital plug-in connectors in the form of computer applications, which are combined with various programs for sound engineering and production on the computer. Therefore, it was widely used, as it is relatively cheap, light in load, easy to learn and deal with for anyone who wants, whether amateur or professional.

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From here, these applications can be processed, or even completely produced to suit the sound environment of any song or music track. As for what prevented this in the song “Sah Saha”, it is perhaps the weak cultural sensitivity of the producer, Marshmello, and the limits of his understanding of the characteristics of the oriental dance song presented by Nancy Ajram. An understanding that does not only initiate study and know-how, but also makes an artistic intuition about what distinguishes a style, a color or a style, especially when the culture differs.
For example, when the culture is different, the style of dance varies with it. The oriental rhythms on which Nancy’s songs are based, such as al-Maqsoum, are characterized by tenderness and femininity. They are mainly female dance rhythms, in which the pelvis twists and the flanks shake, the shoulders rise, and the arms and palms rise. The divided does not derive its soul from the blows going down, as is the case in techno dance and hip-hop, but rather those that bounce back up. So, the low beat that Marshmello entered on “Sah Sah”, bottomless, loud, and heavy, is heard, alien to the soul of the song.
Also, the dance and its rhythm may differ, or vary, within the same culture. Therefore, we see that the ready-made Western electronic pulse forms, which are derived from the world of techno and hip-hop, are more compatible and in harmony with the Levantine and Kurdish Dabke. Accordingly, the success of what is known today as popular techno resulted. The dabkeh is a folk oriental dance, performed masculine or mixed, based on rhythmic percussion of the ground with the foot. Therefore, the blows coming down in it in terms of footholds acquire value and importance.
The problem, then, does not lie in importing electronic technologies, or any technical technology whatsoever, nor is it related to hybrids in artistic production, nor to cross-cultural technical cooperation, but rather to an approach that is satisfied with the installation of two different models without the struggle to produce a unique new model that absorbs the new technology. So, “Sah Sah,” the “Ajramiya” song, so to speak, was updated with the addition of electronics, while it would have been more technical, technically, for Nancy Ajram and Marshmello to produce a joint electronic song, a real new one.

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