The SEA in 5 Arabic songs

In front of the sea we roam in a comforting instability. The endless wet emptiness invokes feelings of fear, love, challenge and surrender. We can see the sea as water or as a continuation of our contradiction. We can hear it as noise or as a sonata. We can feel it as liquid or as an elixir. The 5 musicians/bands below chose the latter.

1. The sea as a CONNECTOR 

One way of understanding the world is to see it as an island in a large body of water. Although it parts us from our loved ones, we can also consider it connecting us to them.

Shiraz is a Jordanian band led by Muhannad Aljabi. Their cover of “Babori Rayeh Rayeh” (My Ship is Going, Going) is very distinguished: it’s oriental, fresh and lively, just wait till min 1:30. The song has also been sung by the renowned Iraqi singer Ilham Al-Madfai.


2. The sea as a LOVER

No matter how far we go in our interpretations of the sea, we cannot miss out its romance.

In this song “Bahib il Bahr” (I love the Sea), the sea is personified as a lover; its playful azure waves, and its calming hushing sound replaces human love and affection.

Kamilya Jubran is a Palestinian musician and singer whose songs are a product of delicate and genuine emotion.


3. The sea as an IDENTITY

When we think of Beirut, Alexandria, Jaffa, etc… we think of fishermen, of sunsets and blue horizons. As such, the sea becomes inseparable from the human component of the place; it eventually becomes part of the inhabitants’ speech, thoughts and feelings.

Law Shirboo ilBahar (If They Drank the Sea) is a beautiful song by the Palestinian band Wil’at that expresses Palestinian belonging to the land’s smallest details such as the sea shells. However no belonging ever amounts to that of the city which is greater than the sum of its parts.


4. The sea as a THIEF 

Apart from its beauty, the sea in Lebanon greatly contributes to the chaos of the country. Its waves are uncontrollable and its music plays in perfect harmony with the ticking of bombs and the thudding of thunder that wake Beirutis up from the comfort of their sleep, but never from the comfort of their dance floor.

“Bahr” (Sea) is an interesting song by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Laila that introduces a new perception of the sea as a thief. The singer converses with the sea and pleads in anguish for help to find his brother whom the waves have stolen.


5. The sea as a TRAITOR 

Similar to Mashrou’ Laila, the Algerian chaa’bi song “Bahr Altoufan” (Sea of Flood) laments the loss of a loved one who went out to the sea in the morning but did not return.

The Original song is for Mohammad Albaji.