There's something about "Al Farabi": New Saudi band takes the music world by storm
Al Farabi, your not so typical Saudi band, a very intriguing group of young men joined together in creating music that many have not heard since ... let’s just put it lightly and say that you haven’t heard musical pieces like theirs before. Each artist presents a different skill using various musical instruments, both well-known and some not so. Blended with lyrics derived from old Arab poetry written by the likes of Al-Mutanabi, they create a blend of music that genuinely speaks with a different voice than what many of us are used to hearing.
What makes this band unique is their unification of different music styles such as alternative rock and classic piano with other instruments such as the Turkish bouzouki into one harmonious sound; the best description would be experimental. It’s not difficult to see why this group is making its way by storm in the music world. Different is now in.
You can’t find a specific genre to describe this band; this is due to their diverse taste. They chose to name their group “Al Farabi” as an ode to the late philosopher Abu Al-Naser Al Farabi, the founder of the famous book “Kitab Al Musiqa” or “the Book of Music”. Al Farabi was an expert in art and the science of music; he invented several music instruments and experimented with them, not to mention his contribution to what we know now as musical notes. So the name does fit.
The songs played by the group are based on their chosen lyrics of old classical Arab poetry, where expressing feelings is not only about romance and love, it’s a means to express and touch many different emotions all in one long poem, where volumes were created just to talk about a story portraying different passions to give the listener and reader an idea of the reality coming from within the story line. The choice to sing in classical Arabic is first due to their love for the language, second, because of the depth of the Arabic language and deep heart touching creativity. It’s their way for resetting the standard for Arabic music. The same love, romance, sorrow and hate emotions of songs these days are a tad over rated. Having chosen the path they are taking, it’s their take on an old art form transformed into something beautifully suitable for the 21st century.
Their path choice does not mean they wouldn’t talk about love in their songs. They do, in their own special way such as in their latest hit “If I had two hearts”, the singer speaks of a love that is deep and captivated by his beloved that he cannot free himself from such. It’s a touching form of intimacy only found in old classics.
The band’s unique lyrics are chosen according to a subject they would want to sing about, but it’s a long process to go through the best poems and choose the correct wording. Band manager, Thamer Farhan, explains that it’s a group effort to find what topic they want to talk about, extensive work is put into place going through numerous poems written by historic Muslim and Arab poets and scholars. Once that is chosen, it’s then an even longer process to find the perfect tune to combine with the lyrics. They take their time in creating their music because each member would present their take on the song depending on the instrument they use; it’s then that they chose how to mash everything together. They use any element that suits the song and they don’t tend to use a computer to generate their music, they do it separately and the only computer use is the mash up of all the sounds put together.
There are five members as well as four featured artists, so it’s understandable why the long wait between each song. It is to follow up on the perfection of their songs, hit after hit and they don’t seize to disappoint. It’s a complicated process but very much enjoyable at the same time, a group with many different attitudes toward music but joined into one harmonious sound, all for their love for it.
None of the members have an educational background when it comes to music; they all strived and worked to achieve to get to where they are today. There is one sole member though, with an actual background. He comes from a long line of musicians, his father launched the first musical instruments store in the Kingdom. Al Farabi are working hard on creating their first official album hopefully finishing by the end of 2014.
When it comes to inspiration, it’s easy to say that many get it from a certain culture or country or occasion, for example. But not Al Farabi, they get their inspiration from a theme, and the words interconnected to it. Simple yet very difficult. It’s their love for the Arabic language that allows them to dwell on the hidden meanings behind old poetry and connect them with today’s world. They strive to bring together pieces that attract the attention of today’s generation as well as bring back the essence of classical Arabic poetry, something not many consider worthy of thought but nonetheless their songs grab the attention of a listener. Each member has their own interest and taste in music. Diverse in the sense that one is a hard metal enthusiast, another is a jazz/blues fan, there’s one that is very much into the Khaleeji scene, one is into classical Arabic and another is into hip hop and RnB. Diverse would be an understatement. That’s Al Farabi.