Guest Feature: Reina Khoury
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For this week’s playlist, instead of the usual ten songs in the Middle East, North Africa, and Diaspora sectio, we’ve got a whopping twenty-five songs! That’s right, 25 songs to go along with the usual ten in the other two sections. Be sure to check out all the music below!
So much good content coming out, I have to find a way to keep up!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Reina Khoury!
Born in 1995, Reina grew up in Jordan and fell in love with the stage ever since her first performance at the age of 5. Early on, she realised her appreciation for Arabic and Western pop music, and her consumption expanded to her now creating her own sound by merging sounds and melodies of her culture with the all the various music she loved.”
Reina’s openness in her lyrical approach was marked ever since her first release, Once Again. Given that she often refers to her melodies as her soul’s way of expression, she channels those emotions along with the words to create her finished song. Reina’s music would fall into the Arab pop genre, using sounds and styles that offer a unique taste true to her artistic vision.
Reina is easily one of the sweetest people I’ve come to know. Just aside from her artistry and her beautiful voice, she is someone who truly and genuinely cares about music and cares about supporting everyone around her. And wow, did I mention her voice?! You may have seen her songs on previous newsletter playlists, and I have to shout out her latest single “Minni w Alay” which all of you should check out immediately—along with the rest of her discography obviously (my personal favorite is “El Hob Jnoon”). It’s an absolute honor to have her share some of her go-to music with us this week:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
I just love Halsey’s vocal range and timbre, she has such a distinctive raspy voice, coupled with such strong lyrics I feel immediately attached to her songs.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
I know this is cheesy but it’s honestly so true because it’s our wedding song, it was emotional creating it and putting it out. Listening to it always transports me back to that exact moment when I surprised my husband with it at our wedding and sang it to him. It’s an incredible memory to hold on to forever.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
So many of the 90s-2000s disney movies give me all the nostalgic feels, and so remind me of home and my childhood for that reason. I remember how amazed I was with “Once Upon a December” when I heard it as a kid and I know it stuck with me to this very moment and certainly impacts the creation of my own music.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I really appreciate and respect A5rass as a Jordanian artist and I think he’s a songwriting genius, I love his lyrics and always listen closely and end up memorising a lot of the songs! This song is my latest go to.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
Ok something to know about me, my all time favorite artist in the world is Post Malone. I dream about collaborating with him and meeting him properly. I find his timbre also so distinctive and emotional, this song is one of his recent releases that really gets me dancing!
Big shout out to Reina for joining and sharing her song selections! All of Reina’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Reina on Instagram and check out all of her music on your preferred streaming platform!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
EXPECTATIONS - Lana Lubany
MamaCita - NEGAPHONE
KALBI - Shabjdeed
100 WAHDA - Yonyo
walk that walk - Ss.hh.a.n.a.
Ya Yuma - Love and Joy - Zenobia featuring Sama Shuhhok
BETRAZINA - Fifty El Ostora featuring Khofash
Baba 3oud - Confait
Amigo - Baby Gang featuring Elai
Bānit - Nadah El Shazly
Fifa - Illiam
Ya Ba - Demon324
Sa3at w Sa3at - Hala
Fakkart - Jamale Abou Hamad
Nar - Joujma
Asef Li - Blvxb featuring Ruhmvn
LAILA - LIMIT-LESS featuring Mourad Agharroud and Hamza Fnx
ANONYMOUS - TUL8TE featuring Lege-Cy
Nari - Aezaddy
Business - DYSTINCT featuring Naza
Emta - Rust
MON LOVE OHO (UK Remix) - Liamsi featuring Tion Wayne and Benzz
Mora w Helwa - Odd Khalid
Plus comme avant - Douki
Mkawed - Defame
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Sin Gato (MIAU!) - Rels B
hotel san juan - Corinna Smith
Love Con Espacio - Loyal Lobos
Bailando Bachata - Chayanne
Buenos Aires - Luis Fonsi
Sin Kerer - Aleesha
Señal de Fuego - Karina Daza
Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 55 - Bizarrap featuring Peso Pluma
ID - Young Miko featuring Jowell y Randy
Piensa en Mí - Ángela Aguilar
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Let Them Know - Wande Coal
Sittin’ On Top Of The World - Burna Boy
Dance The Night - Dua Lipa
Greenlight - Hayley Kiyoko
Sprinter - Dave featuring Central Cee
Normally - Joeboy featuring Bnxn and ODUMODUBLVCK
Fly Girl - FLO featuring Missy Elliott
I’m Sorry - Arlo Parks
Party Girls (Michaël Brun Dancehall Remix) - Victoria Monét featuring Buju Banton
Motion - Ty Dolla $ign
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
In Sultan Ibrahim, fishermen are caught between garbage and sewage - Nada Ghosn, L’Orient Today
In Ghobeiri, fishermen and their families suffer financial and health consequences as sewage is dumped into their coast.
When will violence against Lebanese women get the attention needed? - Fatima Shehadeh, Raseef22
In recent years, Lebanon has seen an alarming increase in the number of women killed by their partners or family members. Their deaths serve as a tragic reminder of Lebanon's urgent need to address gender-based violence.
How activists have brought Lebanese farmers back to their roots - Hannah McCarthy, The Irish Times
When the financial crisis hit, crop growers had to adjust quickly.
From ashes and debris, iconic Beirut museum reopens 3 years after massive damage from port blast - Kareem Chehayeb, Associated Press
Lebanon’s Sursock Museum has reopened to the public, three years after a deadly explosion in Beirut’s port — set off by tons of improperly stored chemicals — reduced many of its treasured paintings and collections to ashes.
In Conversation: Nada Homsi on ‘Death Boats’ and Anti-Refugee Sentiment in Lebanon - Patrick Strickland, Long Road Magazine
Nada Homsi has been reporting on refugee issues, migration, and borders across the Middle East since 2015. She’s worked for The New York Times and NPR in the past, and she’s now a Beirut-based correspondent for The National.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Tunisia was the hope of the Arab spring. Now my father could face the death penalty for his words - Soumaya Ghannoushi, The Guardian
“The president, Kais Saied, has turned our country into a dictatorship, while Europe looks the other way.”
When fighting broke out on April 15 in Sudan's capital between the country's armed forces and tens of thousands of militia fighters loyal to a rival general, Khartoum's residents had to make a quick and painful choice: Stay or leave?
Yemen: beauty on the edge of war – photo essay - Mattia Velati (words as told to Quentin Muller), The Guardian
The photographs of Mattia Velati tell a story of Yemen under the internationally recognised government and the different militias and tribes that control the southern part of the country in the civil war against Houthi forces that has ravaged the country since the end of 2014.
Desert wells help Iraq harvest bumper wheat crop as rivers dry - Timour Azhari and Ahmed Saeed, Reuters
Drilling the desert for water could provide immediate relief in a country that the United Nations says is among the five nations most vulnerable to climate change in the world, and where climate-induced migration has already begun. However, heavy use of the wells could bleed desert aquifers dry, agricultural experts and environmentalists warn.
Tripoli Art House: The curators on a mission to bring awareness to the arts and culture scene in Libya - Naima Morelli, The New Arab
Libyan curator Wareda Elmehdawi seeks to shed light on the richness of Libyan art history through her family’s work with the historical Tripoli Art House.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Beirut-born entrepreneur and musician Wassim Bou Malham in conversation with KHAMSA.
Mexican Music Is Taking Over the World - Ashley Carman, Bloomberg
Reggaeton, Spanish-language rap and pop remain at the top of the charts year after year, while increasingly, another genre has also been on the rise: Mexican music, or música Mexicana.
Deena Abdelwahed Dreams New Futures Through Dance Music - Christina Hazboun, Bandcamp
The album Jbal Rrsas is Abdelwahed doing what she has been doing best, molding rhythms and sounds until they resonate with her inner rhythm.
The Aleppo electronic artists using music to heal in Gaziantep - Stefania D'Ignoti, Al Jazeera
Electronic music artists who fled the war in Syria recreate Aleppo’s nightlife as a way of processing war and earthquake traumas and bringing Syrians and Turks together.
How to Hire a Pop Star for Your Private Party - Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
For the very rich, even the world’s biggest performers—Beyoncé, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Andrea Bocelli—are available, at a price.
📚 Other Reads 📚
International Superstars are Now Dominating the Game More Than Ever Before - Alex Squadron, SLAM
You don’t have to look hard for proof that the game is growing around the world. The three finalists for the 2023 NBA MVP hailed from countries outside the United States, marking the fifth straight season that a foreign-born player was crowned MVP, dating back to Antetokounmpo’s first triumph in 2019.
Ted Lasso, and the Fantasy of Soft Masculinity - Elamin Abdelmahmoud, The New York Times
A fan-favorite show wraps up a series in which the mostly male characters became more vulnerable, empathetic and comfortable being themselves with other men.
On TikTok, women get real about the pitfalls of motherhood - Tatum Hunter, The Washington Post
TikTok users are discussing the mental health risks of motherhood more candidly than ever, as the specter of loneliness hangs over parents and child-free people alike.
The Movement to Make Black Neighborhoods Better for Walking and Biking - Adam Mahoney, Capital B News
Black mobility justice groups are making strides in elevating alternative modes of transportation after decades of divestment.
Michael Porter Jr. Finds Meaning After Almost Losing Basketball - Mirin Fader, The Ringer
Three back surgeries in five years changed everything for Porter Jr. and put his NBA career in jeopardy. But what the former phenom lost in athleticism, he gained in perspective, molding him into the Nuggets’ biggest X factor in pursuit of a ring. "It’s letting go of ego," Porter Jr. says, "but that’s our whole team."