avium concentus in agris (leopold_paula_b) wrote in linguaphiles,
avium concentus in agris

Arabic language songs

Can anyone recommend Arabic language singers to me? The most important things for me would be approximate use of standard language and clear articulation. Availability of lyrics would definitely be helpful as well.

Thanks in advance!
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July 7 2014, 01:09:01 UTC 2 years ago Edited:  July 7 2014, 01:09:19 UTC

I doubt if there`s such thing as "standard arabic language". Saudi, Egyptian, Syrian, Algerian and Iraqi dialects differ a lot, and which of them is "standard"?
OMG, I'm really such a bloody beginner. I'm using a self-teaching course (Langenscheidt "Arabisch mit System") that shows how Syrian and Egyptian differ, but still claims that there is a kind of common language understood from Morocco to Oman (mainly used in movies and TV). Another textbook I looked into (Assimil "Arabisch ohne Mühe") makes the same claim. ...So "modern standard arabic" is rather fictitious, not really a spoken language?
It (or, rather, some approximation of it) is spoken when Arabic-speakers from different countries come together, but I can't think of anyone who sings in it. (Classical, yes, but that's not quite the same beast.)
Thank you.

...And sorry for asking such basic questions here. But those textbooks I'm using are really misleading (and all books bear just the word "Arabisch" in the title as if that was a language), and the few Arabic native speakers I know are no help either. Whenever I ask them questions about the correct version of a sentence, e.g. "ma smuka?" or "ma ismak?" for "what's your name?", they say both are correct, and that there's really no difference, but they never explain that there is no real living Modern Standard Arabic.
Maybe I'll just learn the Arabic that the owner of my internet café speaks. He's always talking into his phone, I like his pronunciation and, as he keeps it simple, I even understand the occasional salaam, alhamdulillah, min-fadlak, al-flus and shukran.
That's my usual advice to anyone asking what variety they should learn of a language: Learn the variety you can find the best support for. If you have native speakers around, that means learning what they speak, even if it isn't considered the most prestigious or universal. After you have that down, you can always go on to learn a more standard variety. After all, that's how native speakers do it.
Since Egyptian Arabic is widely regarded as the closest you can get to a standard, Om Khalsoum would be a good singer to start with, especially since she was also so influential musically.
Thank you, I actually know some of her music. (I'm afraid I'm not a big fan, though.)
Um, no to most of the above. There *is* a standard Arabic, called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). It is *not* identical with the spoken dialect of any country. It's primarily a written language, though it is spoken when reading from prepared texts, or by educated people in formal contexts. Since most people can't produce it spontaneously and correctly, they don't generally use the full-on version of it to communicate across dialects (what they actually do is a whole nother story).

Lots of modern poetry is written in MSA, and you can sometimes find that poetry set to music. (You can also find, as muckefuck says, singers performing classical Arabic poetry, which may help you with the pronunciation of MSA but not much else.) The Lebanese singer Majida al-Rumi has several songs in MSA, though they are 80s style ballads that may not appeal to your musical tastes. Fayruz, also Lebanese, has a few as well, mostly nationalistic anthem-type songs. Try these:

ماجدة الرومي كلمات
ماجدة الرومي كن صديقي
ماجدة الرومي بيروت
فيروز القدس

Umm Kulthum also has many famous songs in MSA (not just Egyptian). If you want to give her another chance her most famous song in MSA is الأطلال

But folks are right that almost all pop music is in dialect. Unfortunately, you just have to bite the bullet and pick one to start with. Learning one does make the others easier, though.

Good luck!
Thank you! As for the music, I guess I'll just try the city library and see what I can find.

"Biting the bullet?" I don't think that having to pick one variety is all that painful.