Saturday, November 12, 2005

Once Upon a Time... I was a Singer

Have I told you once upon a time I was a singer? Yes I was. It's a LONG story about me singing. And here it is.

As a child I loved singing. I had a microphone and my own audience. They were my family and friends. My sisters and I used to write songs and sing. We were really young that my little sister wasn't talking in the real sense. Our songs were about mom and dad and how we love them, or about Iraq and the love of homeland. Sometimes we just pick some songs and sing them or make a program and ask who was there to request the songs. We used to design dances and moves.

You can't imagine how fun it was for us. I even remember that at certain age we started to use our instruments. Our family is an artistic one. My dad is a musician. He plays flute and Qanoon (an Arabic instrument with many strings just like the harp in the lab but it is horizontally) and he is a good hand drummer (Arabic beats). My eldest sister plays block flute and the flute too. I play violin and my youngest sister plays piano. (I mentioned my father but he wasn't playing with us).

But this band didn't last for so long. My eldest sister stopped singing with us because she felt she is bigger than to do such things with children. She started just to train us and select the songs. (The bossy element started to grow healthier). Then I stopped and took her place of bossing on our baby sister. We even used to tape our songs on cassettes so when mom and dad are home they can hear the songs.

Later we were young enough to stop childish games of singing. But we used to sing in our parties either in our home or relative's or friend's home. Until now and this is how we party. I remember dad playing (qanoon) and we have many friends play the lute (Oud) with other friends singing. Other times when we are with other friends, who play guitar, and we would either sing old Iraqi songs sang recently by Ilham Al Madfai. Or we sing foreign songs such as "Hotel of California".

You may wonder why we sing. My father is a composer of classic music mainly marches. My sisters and I were in Music and Ballet school. We learned how to read and play music. We also learned how to use our vocal cords in sol phage class. The school had two main concerts in the year; One for the midterm exams another for the finals.
In these concerts we used to play music and sing. I remember how I used to tremble on the stage. The trembling made my hands shake so bad that my music sounds dreadful. Therefore I preferred singing on playing violin. Even when I'm supposed to be in the orchestra I wanted to sing.

I remember a summer when one of my tutors called us at home and said we want Resha. I told my father I didn't want to go. I thought they wanted me to play. In the morning when he came to pick me up I was carrying my violin. And he said "you don't need your violin, you are going to sing". At that point I was relieved.

He took me with other 2 boys and we went to the studio. We heard the music and read the lyrics and then we started to record. I sang the solos and the boys were the chorus. They were 4 or 6 songs or may be more, I really don't remember. But their themes were mainly about homeland and the farming and building of it. The songs were composed by Hussein Qadoori (a famous Iraqi composer especially for children).
That day, in the studio, I heard my voice and fell in love with it and I felt superior. Many concerts and songs I participated in even with "al maqam al Iraqi". I would die to sing. All for free.
After I left music and ballet school I sang only with friends.

In Jordan, in the university I studied in, I discovered that there was a band. The band consisted of a pianist, guitarist, keyboard player, Oud player, drummer and few singers. All were students. But the person, who introduced me to them, was my literature professor. He plays Oud. We sang and played music for about an hour then we decided we should perform in a concert.

We choused the songs we wanted to play; Four songs from Fairooz, one from Abdul Haleem, one Um Kalthoom. They liked my voice and said that I should sing too. There was another girl who sings. We met in the music room twice a week. Singing and having fun. But there was some problems in choosing the right scales for some of the players didn't know how to read note. Any way we had the concert and it was ok. I didn't sing Um Kalthoom's song. There was no time. But I played each song on my violin and sang 2 songs originally sang by Fairooz.
We had many concerts but I didn't participate in all of them, not even in the ones held out the university. One the stage I forget the world and just sing.

Next course I registered for "Music and Drama in Teaching" class, and the instructor wanted some researches from us. When she knew I'm in the university band she asked me to compose music for a poem. It was ok with me. It was my graduation semester and I registered 21 hours per week- the maximum hours allowed. Latter the poet came and I sang the song. It was for children and I was really embarrassed to sing in front of the class. But I would do anything to get an A.

The instructor liked my voice and gave me phone numbers of many composers if I wanted to make living of my voice. I didn't think about it but she insisted. Later she asked me to participate in "Smoke-free Environment" day bye singing a song. I know myself, too shy to do such a thing. But I said yes. I couldn't say no to her polite request. I read the lyrics (about smoking), went to meet the composer, and liked the music. Next thing I know is I'm in the studio singing.

That day when I heard my voice in the head set, it wasn't like the first time. It wasn't the childish voice I heard before. It was a voice of a young female which sounded like Celine Dion's. (Don't mock me. I'm not exaggerating. Hear and then comment).the composer congratulated me and said "I knew, in the studio, your voice would sound like Fairooz.
English faculty and most of Art collage professors heard the song and decided that it should be performed live. I said a million NOs but what can I do with polite people. My family didn't say no. my mother advised me to do what I want now so I won't regret it latter. I thought I don't want to say " Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda but I didn't do that". But I was afraid that I would be tagged as the girl who sang…blab blab blab.
On "Smoke-free environment" day I was on stage singing in front of the whole University of Petra. I was pink, just like the shirt I was wearing. I saw my group, my teachers and friends clapping and smiling to me. That day I had real audience and I felt a real singer.
As I was a student in Nour Al Hussein institute, I participated in 2 concerts as a choir member. The first was taped by Rotana Tarab because it was Um Kalthum's songs. The second was taped by Jordanian TV because it was the opening concert of Jaresh festival.
I still have dreams of the stage and the studio but I'm reasonable enough to know this is just a hobby and there's no place for such interest in our society. But at least I had my moments and enjoyed them.

5 Comments:

Blogger Morbid Smile said...

Those seems to be great times! I remember that you once talked about how you and your sisters used to make your own radio shows and sing! I was thinking if I would hear you sing "I wanna be loved by you just you.." it would be great! This song is stuck in my mind since yesterday :)

Go on with it girl, good luck for you

11/13/2005 10:19 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

I would sing it if u came to UAE, that's a promis.

11/14/2005 12:00 AM  
Blogger Morbid Smile said...

Hey I want to read the second series of "Once Upon a Time I Was..."


:)

11/16/2005 8:12 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

It's coming .. don't worry.
the next will be about acting. playing violin, drawing and painting and many others.

thank you for reading

11/29/2005 3:16 PM  
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12/08/2005 12:36 AM  

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