Here's another installment in our ongoing efforts to bring Arab-pop to all you gaijin (actually, the Arabic word is iganib, but I fell for gaijin while in Japan), a new hit by the reigning diva of the genre, the fabulous Nancy Ajram.
A miracle of nature and art, Miss Ajram has been top of the charts for half-a-dozen years now, a fairly long career in a region in which stardom is either permanent (as with the several deities of Egyptian song and film of the forties and fifties who are still the biggest things around, living or dead) or entirely disposable.
While this little number, "Mashy haddy" ("Walking Near Me") may not be on par with the masterworks of Um Kulthoum, it's a catchy little tune with a candy-coated video that pits plucky Nancy against a deeply lizardly boyfriend. Why she wants to keep him is never quite clear, but you have to admire its stylized visuals and clever art direction.
Like many of Nancy's best videos, it's directed by a woman and gives every sign that the star herself is entirely in control of her image and career - and perhaps rather more interesting than the average, run-of-the-mill thrush. There's no question that she's a brilliant self-marketer, proving, if nothing else, that it's not only in the States that a clever girl can take a little talent and a lot of moxie and go a very long way. Maybe in thirty years she'll be importing kids from Malawi...