Friday, September 25, 2009

Lebanese sense of grandness

I was watching a clip of Lebanese singer, Majda Ar-Rumi. I can't stand her personality or her politics but I like her singing, and some of her songs. But what got my attention is the orchestra accompanying her: she must have had some 60 musicians and some 20 or more singers. It annoyed me. Lebanese love a sense of grandness about everything: which only points to a deep inferiority complex. Lebanon is a country that is not satisfied being insignificant, small, and unsovereign: so it compensates with stupid myths about the Phoenicians and about Lebanon's identity, as if Lebanon came from Europe but the Crusades forgot to take it back with them. Read the official correspondence between the Maronite church and the French government from the 19th century and you will get what I am talking about. (You will find some in the 3 volumes of documents published by the brothers Khazin in 1910). I see great American singers with a band of 3 or 4 musicians. I saw a performance by REM years ago and it was a modest affair and was great. In Lebanon, the small time singer has to have the 40 or 50 members orchestra, and wealthier singers import orchestras from Armenia or Kiev. A good song does not require all that noise, unless they think that the big band can compensate for bad music and bad singing. And Lebanon loves to import talent from the West--but Lebanon always gets fads and trends decades after their expiration in the US. Lebanon, for example, celebrated this summer that Michael Bolton came to Lebanon to sing. Michael Bolton, for potato's sake.