Julia Botros Sings ‘Frankly’ for Revolution, Freedom
Albawaba.com – Amman
Lebanese singer Julia Botros has recently cut a new album, Bisaraha (Frankly). The new album includes eight songs of love, patriotism and freedom - subjects she says people need to hear more about.
Following her 1998 hit album Shi Gharib (Something Strange), Bisaraha is arguably Botros’ best work to date. The album is the result of her ongoing collaboration with her brother Ziad, who has composed most of her songs, as well as the only poet she worked with on this album, Nabil Abu Abdo, who actually wrote some excellent lyrics.
The album opens with the title song Bisaraha (Frankly), which is a classic song, a musically rich piece with a catchy and vivid orchestral arrangement. Julia sings, as always, with a lot of emotion, making subtle arabesques that enhance the mood of the song.
Wa’ed Alayi (A Promise I Make) is a lovely jazzy song with trumpets and trombones mingling with piano, guitars and cello, on which Ziad Botros seems inspired by Ziad Rahbani. The album’s first hit, however, is Ma Am Befham Arabi (I Can’t Understand Arabic). Already being aired extensively on the radio, it’s a kind of public awareness message, with a sharp, bitter criticism of today's loss of morality.
Singing for Khiam over the years, Julia has mastered this genre of patriotic, revolutionary songs and she scored a number of hits like Elissa Adat and Ya Thowar Al Ardd. Nasheed el Horiyi (The Anthem of Freedom) is one of Julia’s greatest songs ever, which she dedicated to the liberated detainees of Khiam. The song is living proof of the power of music. Right from the start, Ziad sets the appropriate mood for the song’s theme, as the banging drums are interrupted by the sound of a sad Nay, summarizing the pain and suffering of the prisoners. Then the piano blends in, paving the way for the cello and violins and culminating in Julia’s compassionate singing. The chorus joins her later, producing haunting vocal harmony.
Kelmi Aal Waraa (A Word on Paper) is a passionate slow love song. Julia is brilliant in love songs, as her voice possesses the required softness and warmth.
The rest of the songs on the album, especially Elna Mazha (It’s a Joke)- a lovely, happy track with a whiff of Tarab, Ma Mara’ (He Didn’t Pass By), and Nehna Al Thawra Wel Ghadab (We Are the Revolution and the Anger), are all good efforts and may as well become hits too.
In short, Bisaraha is a strong comeback for Julia and a reconfirmation of her rank among today’s singers. Indeed, the more Julia sings, the more it’s evident how much she’s influenced by her idol, Fairuz. And what better example to follow.
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)