Receiving Wide Acclaim from the Audience and Music Critics
An Impressive Success for Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan's Halawella in Less than a MonthIn less than a month since its release, Halawella (Mostakell 2015), the joint album of Egyptian singer Maryam Saleh and Lebanese composer Zeid Hamdan, has achieved great success throughout the Arab world, receiving positive reactions and reviews from music critics and audiences alike.
Al Araby Al Jadeed online news portal has posted a critical review describing Maryam as "A sharp bold voice that imposes a new meaning beyond the lyrics, creating cynical paradoxes and forcing the listener to dismantle the direct meaning and engage with the songs spontaneously."
While Hassan Al Saheli writes in the Lebanese newspaper Al Modon "Maryam Saleh's performance introduces the original spirit of the songs and uses numerous theatrical styles of performance that can be noticed in any one song."
In Al Akhbar Lebanese newspaper, Mohammed Hamdar confirms that the album is "successful due to its sarcasm and rebellious spirit." While Mostafa Farouk in Al Bawaba Egyptian newspaper describes Maryam's voice as "an addiction", and Zahra Mera'i describes the album in Al Quds Al Arabi as "an album with satirical lyrics provocative and stimulating insight and thinking."
UAE's The National newspaper describes Halawella as "An impressive collection of sharp beats and humor." While Cairo Scene says that the album is "Refreshing ... and Maryam's delivery is unexpected as it is comical and playful."
Mostakell released a lyric video for Youyou, one of the album's songs, and revealed that more videos and tour dates by Maryam Saleh and Zeid Hamdan will be announced in the coming few weaks; starting with their appearance at Rich Mix London on the 23rd of this month.
Halawella is now available in stores in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and will be available in Europe after its Europe release in January 2016. The album is available on Mostakell's official website in addition to iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Anghami and others. Mostakell has also released a collection of custom-made T-Shirts with phrases inspired by the album's lyrics, that can be ordered through its website, with cash payment available in Egypt and delivery worldwide.
The new album, Halawella, comprises 10 songs; half of which are inspired by the oeuvre of the salient duo Sheikh Imam and Ahmed Fouad Negm as Maryam used to sing. The new album includes remixes of these songs by Zeid, in addition to some of Maryam's songs.
Halawella, is the fruitful result of Maryam and Zeid's successful tours since 2010 in Cairo, Beirut, and Tunisia, in addition to their international tours in London, Rome, Amsterdam, and others where Zeid Hamdan's remixes are very well-received.
Mariam Saleh is a unique and charismatic underground music icon. She was greatly inflected by psychedelic music and Sayyed Darwish songs, as well as Sheikh Imam who was a close friend of her father and whom she still considers to be a personal inspiration. Her career began at childhood by working wither her father Saleh Saad in the Seradek theater group. In 2002, she formed the Passport cover band which perfomed Sheikh Imam and Sayed Darwish songs. In 2007, she joined Barka band which also covered Sheikh Imam songs, in addition to songs by Ahmed Fouad Negm, Abdelrahman Mansour, Naguib Sorour, and many young poets. Mariam released her debut album in 2012 titled "Ana Mesh Baghany" (orisuced by Iqa'a in 2012) which garnered a lot of attention by swerving from the usual musical mold. Mariam created an independent and unique performance space for herself which is easily distinguished from the prevailing norms.
Zeid Hamdan is a well-known Lebanese composer and producer in the alternative music scene since the 90's. He was dubbed "the godfather of Lebanese underground music" due to his continuous support of Lebanese and Arab bands mixing between diverse types of Arab and international music, such as Kazamada, Zeid and the Wings, Katibeh 5, the New Government, and Soap Kills; a band which originally was formed in 1997 and became a pioneering indie band in the Arab world. By collaborating with them, Zeid mixed electronic music with classic Arabic music, in addition to singing along with the band member Yasmine Hamdan, whose stardom was catapulted after joining the band. CNN network selected Zeid Hamdan as one of the 8 most influential figures in Lebanese culture.