Sunday, December 31, 2023

#kufiyaspotting: John Lennon, Bermuda, 1980

October 7 and its aftermath have produced multiple kufiya spottings, and a fair bit of news coverage. I've been too overwhelmed by the events to get on the blog to write about it. I will try to make more of an effort in future, but all I can promise is dribs and drabs. This represents some housekeeping, in fact, a photo that has been on my hard drive for some time but never managed to post.

John Lennon spent some time in Bermuda in 1980. A friend sent me this photo, found on reddit. The description says only this: "new release photo, on deck, Bermuda June 1980." Do we presume then that John was on some yacht, and needed to cover himself from the sun, or protect himself from the wind. And why did he use a kufiya? Kufiyas were starting to become somewhat common street wear in US urban areas by the early eighties, as I've written about elsewhere, so I guess it was simply something he came across in New York City, where he lived. That's all I've got! Check out the photo: 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

My book chapter, "The Kufiya" (2021) available here as a pdf

 My book chapter, "The Kufiya," published in  Asef Bayat and Linda Herrera, Global Middle East: Into the Twenty-First Century, University of California Press, 2021, is now available here, as a pdf.

Note that there is even a kufiya on the cover of the book! (On the shoulders of Edward Said, from a mural.)

 Note too that if you search this blog there is lots of kufiya/kaffiyeh/keffiyeh content.

My kufiya article from 1992: "Seeing Double: Palestinian/American Histories of the Kufiya"

 My 1992 article, “Seeing Double: Palestinian-American Histories of the Kufiya,” published in Michigan Quarterly Review 31(4): 557-577, can now be found here, as a pdf. It also appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review's 60th anniversary issue--60(1): 341-362 in 2021.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Cheikha Rimitti Scopitone!


Watch it here.

 This is courtesy the FaceBook page (which I hope you can access) of the Archives Numérique du Cinéma Algérien, who say about it:

"Alors voici un document extrêmement rare et inédit sur internet: il s'agit d'un large extrait d'un scopitone de Cheikha Remitti tourné très probablement au début des années 1970 et dans lequel elle interprète le morceau "Aïn Kahla".
Nous sommes très heureux de partager avec vous ce document qui nous parait tout à fait exceptionnel.
Si vous reconnaissez le lieu de tournage n'hésitez pas à nous l'indiquer. S'agit-il de l'ouest algérien, d'un village du nord marocain, difficile à dire...
MAJ 22h08 : le film aurait été tourné à Debdou à l'est du Maroc, un grand merci à Nehams Ta pour la recherche
Un grand merci à la cinémathèque de Saint-Etienne de nous avoir permis de numériser ce scopitone au format super 8mm issu de notre collection."
For those of you who don't know French, the key points: it's an extract of a Cheikh Remitti scopitone, probably shot in the beginning of the 1970s, a segment of her song "Aïn Kahla." Filmed in the town of Debdou in eastern Morocco. (My guess is that the Algerian government would not have allowed, or made it very difficult, to film a Scopitone there.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

RIP Otis Grand


RIP my old pal Otis Grand (on left), who passed away on June 7in London. Me in the middle, on vocals, on the right, Walid Boustany. We got our start playing 'unplugged,' in 1973. then got a full, electrified group going called Bliss Street Blues Band. On harmonica, George Bisharat, AKA Big Harp George. Bass: Todd/Craig Lichtenwalner. Drums, Raja Kawar.

Then we dispersed, Otis ended up in London, eventually started his own band, and was such a prodigious talent that he was voted 'Best UK Blues Guitarist' seven years running (1990–1996) by the British Blues Connection magazine. (After 7 years, his name was retired.) He issued lots of recordings, they are easy to track down. I'll have more to say about Otis in future.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Graham Nash, "Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)"


This is an amazing song (found on Nash's 1973 album, Wild Tales) that I only just learned about, thanks to a brilliant book I recently finished, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, by Doug Bradley & Craig Werner. Graham Nash actually attended the Winter Soldier Investigation organized by the Vietnam Veterans against the War (VVAW) in Jan-Feb 1971, where he witnessed this testimony from Scott Camil: "I was a sergeant attached to Charley 1/1...My testimony involves burning of villages with civilians in them, the cutting off of ears, cutting off of heads, torturing of prisoners, calling of artillery on villages for games, corpsmen killing wounded prisoners, napalm dropped on villages, women being raped, women and children being massacred." 

 If you've not seen the Winter Soldier movie, you must, it is essential. Check it out here.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Forthcoming book chapter: Rai, World Music, and Islam

Very honored to have been asked to contribute to this great volume, to be published, inshallah, in October. Look for it! My chapter is entitled: "Rai, World Music, and Islam." More details here.