This song has been stuck in my head for 13 years.

A few months before my tenth birthday, my family moved to Alexandria, Egypt for a year. My parents had always been wanderers. They met in Trinidad and Tobago as strike breakers for Pan- Am Airlines, dated in Paris, and even kept up a long distance relationship between Africa and the States while my dad was over there doing who knows what (he has so many great true stories, I have trouble placing them all on a timeline- perhaps I’ll write later about the time he snuck into Iran in the weeks between the fall of the Shah and the rise of Khomeini). So, of course, children didn’t slow them down. My younger brother was born in Saudi Arabia when I was three, and two years later my father and very pregnant mother didn’t see any reason not to take an extended trip through India on the way back to the States.

I was old enough in Egypt that I remember quite a bit of our time there. And for some reason, over the last thirteen years, one of the things that has stuck in my memory is the “Habibi dah!” phrase from this song. I think one of the reasons it stayed stuck in my head for so long, was the familiarity of the word. Habibi is essentially an Arabic equivalent to “Baby” (someone correct me if I’m wrong on this).  My dad is fluent in Arabic, and when we were young, my dad called my mom Habibi. So, as a ten year old learning Arabic (no, I don’t remember any of what I learned), I was excited to recognize a word on the radio.

Taxis in Alexandria, Egypt

Taxis in Alexandria, Egypt

“Habibi Dah (Nari Nari)” (Translation via Wikipedia: that’s my love: my fire is two fires) was released and went platinum in Egypt the year we were there. I remember being excited to hear it come on taxi radios, because it was the only song I recognized. In fact, it’s the first hit pop song I remember hearing. I was a shy, homeschooled child, so I didn’t listen to Britney, N’Sync, or the Backstreet Boys until my late teens when everyone started getting nostalgic about their childhood (at which point I realized that the latter two are actually pretty great); all my friends were reminiscing about the bands and tv shows that had defined their elementary/middle school years, but at that time I was into books and classical music (nerd!).

Anyway, fast forward thirteen years. I’m living in Reykjavik, Iceland, where you’d think not much would remind me of Egypt. Except, there is a fantastic  Shawarma place (owned by an Egyptian/Syrian couple) two blocks from my flat called… guessed it: Habibi. So this week, it finally occurred  to me to look the song up. It was a great moment of nostalgia. And yes, it’s as fantastic as I remember. Turns out ten year old me had pretty great taste in music.

P.S. I emailed the youtube link to my dad, curious to see if he would remember it. This is what he wrote back: ” I still have the cassette.  I never forgot the video clip, from Asian MTV.  Just remember you danced and ran around many those locations, like the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, as a little bitty girl in your pink and sky blue windbreaker, many years ago.” (Photo via. Edited by me.)


Nostalgia: Bonnaroo 2012

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2012

2012 was Bonnaroo‘s ten year anniversary and my third year in a row attending that amazing music festival. I had to break my winning streak in 2013 since I was saving up to move to Iceland, and this year I’ll be camping among the fjords of Iceland instead of “the farm” in rural Tennessee. But those three festivals hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll always smile when I think about running around in the crazy heat with thousands and thousands of awesome people shouting “Bonnnnarroooooo.” And even though I won’t be able to make it this year, I’ll be there in  spirit, so I’d like to chime in for #Roo14Wishlist. Icelandic bands, guys: Hymnalaya, Mugison, Lay Low, Sóley, and Moses Hightower should definitely be considered!

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2012

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2012Bonnaroo Music Festival 2012
Bonnaroo Music Festival 2012

Songs to Cheer You Up (Because It’s Wednesday)

It’s the middle of the week. Wednesday is definitely in my top five least-favorite-days-of-the-week-list. It’s the kindof day where I don’t want to listen to some silly, blonde blogger go on and on about her minute observations about the inner workings of pop culture. I’m assuming you feel the same way. So, here’s a playlist of songs to get you through the rest of the week. As always, here’s the playlist on YouTube.

This Too Shall Pass by Ok Go

“You know you can’t keep lettin’ it get you down/ And you can’t keep draggin’ that dead weight around…Let it go, this too shall pass. Let it go, this too shall pass.”

Rudder North

I really wanted to share this whole album  (especially the song “All in Good Timing”) but there were no videos. These guys are from the D.C. area (and one is a Terp). This is my go-to album on bad days. Their music is complex and rich with a hopeful undertone that just picks you right up and puts you back on your feet.

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