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Guest Feature: Kareem Chehayeb
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Get the countdown ready, we have 19 weeks until 2024! This year FLEW by, am I right?
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Kareem Chehayeb!
Kareem is a Lebanese-American journalist in Beirut, mostly covering Syria and Lebanon, and geeking out to economics. Spend most of my free time playing guitar and recording music at home.
It’s no exaggeration for me to say that Kareem is one of the premier journalists covering Lebanon and the region more broadly. He is truly one of the few people I follow religiously for all of the latest developments. But more importantly, Kareem is an empathetic and incredible friend with an ear for music. Don’t take my word for it, just check out his go-to songs:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
A close friend of mine introduced me to Shubh Saran a month ago or so, and I’ve been hooked ever since. His Indian fusion and jazz combination is authentic and doesn’t fall back on some of the cheesy and stereotypical motifs.
I never thought a guitar sample from a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity would work in a rap song. It’s a banger.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Chino Moreno’s singing voice is absolutely hypnotizing. I do love the heavier songs by Deftones, but when they mellow out a bit, they create some stunning atmospheric songs. I think Moreno could sing the list of ingredients on a toothpaste tube and it would still emotionally move you.
Then I guess Sinéad O’Connor’s passing brought me back to another late singer’s rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U”. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but this stripped down Chris Cornell’s version is my favorite.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
This is a hard one for all sorts of reasons. The Godfather Theme? No, I guess “Nassam Alayna El Hawa” by Fairuz. And probably because I’ve heard dozens of iterations of this song for 30 or so years now. It also seems to be the most popular among Lebanese diaspora wherever I’ve lived or traveled, so I guess that’s the one.
When the Beirut Port blast happened, I was up most nights and working on no sleep, adrenaline, and lots of coffee. I was already a huge fan of Russian Circles, but their heavy instrumental music helped me stay focused with work and not fall asleep.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I remember listening to that song dozens of times a day on my old CD player while trying to learn it on the guitar by ear. I was probably 13 or 14 at the time. Killer song.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
I don’t sleep as much as I’d like to, so I usually need something that pairs well with my coffee and keeps me alert, and that’s where I find myself going back to metal music.
Nervecell was the first band from the Middle East to play major festivals in Europe and get solid endorsement and record deals. They really put the region on the map. I bought their first album when I was living in Kuwait in 2008, which by some miracle made it through censorship.
Big shout out to Kareem for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Kareem’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Kareem on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with all of his latest stories!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
Cocktail - Diib featuring Mobydick
Aurore - Leila Milki
MA DENBI - L7or
APOP - Bahjat
Talkie - Flenn
Aaksohom - Almas
Cheda Mel Bera7 - Mouka featuring Islem-23
Walo - Meta4 Planet
Nekmi - El Katiba featuring Sanfara
3la Keefy - Nawal
Kool Sana - Flomine featuring L5VAV
Msh Sahab - Sagy featuring Andrew Mounir
Barrio - Cheb Bilal featuring Foufa Torino, Didine Canon 16, and Kofs
Ma Sweetie - Bouzzy
Call Her Right Now - Bayou
MANSEETESH - Hady Moamer featuring El Sheikh Ahmed Bren
Real Love (Remix) - Massari featuring Elyanna
Nafs El Hala - Doaa El Sebaii
Foq Elnakhal - Flipperachi
Mali Mali - Rachid Goudi
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
CLASSY - BIA featuring Swizz Beatz
Solita y SueltAAA - Rels B
Cayendo - Dariell Cano
el paso - Estevie featuring Cuco
Natural - Tina Pámpano featuring AMEX
Flow Cabrón - Juliito featuring Nesi
diablo - paopao featuring ROBI
Used to Be - Anitta
El Amor De Mi Vida - Los Ángeles Azules featuring Maria Becerra
Pande Tu Quiera - Dariel J featuring Chimbala
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Man Undercover - Timbaland & Magoo featuring Aaliyah
Realest - Ez Mil featuring Eminem
save yourself - King Sis
Bruises - August 08
Off Top - Rican Da Menace featuring Lola Brooke
Seasons - Nana Fofie featuring Zuchu
Enjoy - Jux featuring Diamond Platnumz
Paradise - The Wild Things
WELCOME 2 MY STRIP - Unknown T featuring ODUMODUBLVCK
Homage - Giggs
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon’s LGBTQ+ community targeted from every direction - Emmanuel Haddad, L’Orient Today
Lebanon’s LGBTQ+ community finds itself caught in an intense hate campaign driven by political motives.
The designer Beirut guest house helping dreams come true for critically ill children - Maghie Ghali, The National
All rooms in Beit Tamanna were designed for free by 13 Lebanese and international designers and architects.
Lebanon Freezes Accounts of Former Central Bank Governor - Liz Alderman, The New York Times
The action comes days after a U.S.-led coalition accused Riad Salameh of decades of corruption to enrich himself at the expense of his country.
Offshore drilling rig arrives in Lebanese waters ahead of work near the border with Israel - Bassem Mroue, Associated Press
An offshore drilling rig arrived at its destination in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast and will start operations in the coming weeks to search for gas, cabinet ministers said Wednesday.
Beirut airport: Safety fears flagged in global watchdog report - Nada Maucourant Atallah, The National
Concerns relating to air-traffic control must be addressed with utmost urgency, report says.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
More than half of young Arabs in Levant and north Africa pin hopes on emigrating - Heba Saleh and Raya Jalabi, Financial Times
Bleak economic outlook and high unemployment behind desire to leave home countries, survey finds.
Syria to Libya to the EU: how people-smugglers operate - Rouba El Husseini and Lisa Golden, Agence France-Presse
For desperate Syrians, a WhatsApp message saying "I want to go to Europe" can be all they need to start a treacherous journey to Libya and then across the Mediterranean.
Water scarcity in Iraq leads to the disappearance of a signature rice - Mustafa Salim, The Washington Post
As climate change tightens its grip on Iraq, amber rice is the latest casualty. Farmers are grappling not only with a loss of income, but a way of life.
Changing climate pushes migrating birds from parched Tunisian wetlands - Jihed Abidellaoui, Reuters
Tunisia's lakes and coastal lagoons are parched and overheating, endangering a delicate ecosystem and disrupting the vast flocks of migrating birds that use the wetlands as a way station between Africa and Europe.
Male guardianship customs confine Egyptian women to patriarchy - Thaer Mansour, The New Arab
Women in Egypt remain socially shackled by male 'guardians'. These restrictions curtail women's movement, financial rights, and right to privacy. Without pressure against the patriarchy, these customs will continue to deprive women of their rights.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Bashar Murad’s Pop Music Redefines Palestinian Resistance - Theia Chatelle, TeenVogue
“I've always been about breaking stereotypes,” he says. “The mindset that I’ve always had is to show something completely opposite of what you’d expect to see.”
‘People Here Forget They’re African’: The Rapper Fighting for Tunisian Women - Sam Kimball, VICE News
VICE News spoke to Tunisia's most prolific female rapper on hip-hop, migration and race in a time of rising authoritarianism in the country.
What the Hollywood Actors and Writers Strike Means for Music - Marc Hogan, Pitchfork
With TV show and movie production brought to a near-standstill, musicians and music supervisors find themselves caught in the middle.
Karol G Bet on Herself and Won - Isabelia Herrera, Rolling Stone
The Colombian superstar bared her soul and overcame heartbreak. Now, she's ready for ‘bichota season’.
Disabled people deserve concert venues that ensure full accessibility - Vilissa Thompson, Prism
My experience seeing Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour in Philadelphia was severely impacted by the stadium’s lack of care for disabled concertgoers
📚 Other Reads 📚
We Don’t Need a New Twitter - Cal Newport, The New Yorker
It’s time to move beyond the flawed idea of a global conversation platform.
In the ruins of Lahaina, a surfing legend leads a volunteer army to get supplies to survivors - Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times
Legendary big-wave surfer Archie Kalepa has turned his home in Lahaina into a well-orchestrated supply depot for survivors of the devastating fire.
How to get started documenting stories from your life - Felice Léon, NPR
Everyone has a story to tell. Writing a memoir is more than just documenting your life — it can help you process what you've gone through, capture a moment in history for descendants and help others make sense of their own lives. Here's how to get started.
‘Don’t even think about contacting me’: How your out-of-office message defines you - Marita Alonso, El País
Not all out-of-office are the same. There are those who leave the possibility of a response to an ‘urgent’ question open, and others that close it completely. And, apparently, it’s a generational thing.
These kids sued over climate change — and won - Jonquilyn Hill, Vox
The unprecedented ruling in Montana could signal a changing tide.