“Ana Mesh Fenneneh” – The Hilarious Song About The Current State of Lebanon’s Music

From Roula Yammout to Rima Dib to Miriam Klink, the current state of Lebanon’s music scene is horrific. We make fun of what is available, hoping that our ridicule leads to them ceasing to exist, but it seems they take the ridicule as attention and use it as fuel to launch even more disasters on our ears.

Enter Sevine Abi Aad, a performer whose own story with Arab record labels mirrors the current scene we’re forced to tolerate. A few years ago, Sevine had a record label interested in her. One look at her and the record label had comments: they wanted to fix her nose, make her breasts bigger and fix her gaped teeth.

She told them no and decided to do her own thing. The result is her debut song “Ana Mesh Fenneneh,” a satirical look at the Lebanon’s music of today where ass and breasts and blonde hair overtake any semblance of notes.

I sat down for a brief chat with Sevine about her song and her song, as well as upcoming album.

What prompted you to write this song and perform it?

I met with a lyricist I love (Nami Moukheiber) and started telling him about the topics I would like to sing about, that I love comedy, and making people laugh during my performances was important to showcase on the album, and how for me, it’s super important that I’ve lived and gone through whatever I’m singing about.

I remember telling him that I’d like to do a song about the fact that it’s very frustrating for artists to get heard if they’re not willing to play by the rules of the industry (i.e change your physical features, act a certain way, sing a certain style). Years before, I had been approached by industry people who, after just one glance at me had said: Bedna na3mellik menkharik, sodrik, nzabbit el fere2 ben snenik etc… without even discussing the music.

And so I told Nami ‘Ya khayye, ana mich fenneneh, tayib! w ma beddeh koun fenneneh!!!’ So, it’s quite autobiographical. The song was also written with Mike Massy.

What message do you want to give across through this song and album to the current musical status quo in lebanon?

This applies to the song, not the entire album. It’s about the dilemma, the temptation faced by ‘unknown’ independent artists to just give up and give in to the formatted way of the industry.

And we might be tempted to do so because we feel that we aren’t recognized and validated enough in the field.

For example, in terms of live music performance, not many venues will agree to host you and your music if they think the audience won’t enjoy it and they base the criteria for audience’s enjoyment on the repertoire and choice of songs.

Sadly, in most venues, they will ask you to play and rehash songs the people already know and love to dance and sing to… and so you get stuck doing what everyone else is doing or feeling frustrated that you can’t play the music YOU want in many places and share it with people.

So, sometimes, for independent artists, it’s a choice between this (becoming a ‘fenneneh’) or to keep playing for a tiny audience, and find other ways of supporting yourself financially – which is so harmful, because it will take time away from the music and creativity… And its a vicious cycle we need to break once and for all.

The thing is there is a whole underlying hub of amazing vocalists all over the country, who write amazing stuff, and who are performing for a tiny niche audience. And they don’t get the recognition from the wider audience that they so deserve.

Things are changing, for sure, but it still needs to be valued by a wider range of people who sometimes don’t even know about this independent scene. The bigger message though, goes beyond the music industry. It’s a message to young girls and women to stop trying to alter the way they look and act, just in order to be perceived as more ‘attractive’, ‘popular’, ‘fun’.

There is way too much pressure for women here to go under the knife, and it’s a shame they have forgotten how beautiful a person is by being unique and having their own identity. No one, in any industry should make a woman feel that she isn’t pretty enough or talented enough. And self confidence and knowing yourself and believing in what you’re doing should stay your main way of achieving the success you aim for. No compromise.

Is the satirical style of this present in the rest of your album?

It’s not on the entire album, no. Though, again, I love comedy, I also wanted to showcase other sides of me, so. But it’s definitely present in another Lebanese song called ‘Chaghlet Belle,’ written and composed by Mike Massy, which I hope we’ll be able to shoot a video for before the end of the year. Other songs are very cinematic and theatrical, and they’re in other languages (french and english).

I leave you with the song:

Ana Mech Fenneneh

La2 bass je te jure mich mbayyan! Abadan!

La2 bass ktir tali3 naturel!

We7etik we7yetik, yih walaw ana b2ellik chou!


Ana ana ana ana ana ana

Ana mech fenneneh Ana mech fenneneh 

Ana mech fenneneh w ba3ref ghanneh

Wejje byit7arrak aktar men jesme

Bghanne bsawte mech bi hazzet khasre 

B2adde ghnene bala tanneh w ranneh


Ana mech fehmene w mech se2lene

Ana mech fenneneh Ana mech fenneneh 

Ana mech fenneneh w ba3ref ghanneh

Kel el ness ma beddon gheir masla7te

leh chaklek 7elo w ma 3am tenchehre?

Leh bi Kelna Star ma 3am techterke?

Sawt w talle w haybe bass 2ten3eh 2ten3eh 2ten3eh


W ana

Ana mech fehmeneh

Ana mech fehmeneh Ana mech fehmeneh w mech fer2eneh

Tayib leh ma bta3mle chi CD?

7ki Montana byestmanno 3alayke

Eh lek chou  fiya halla2?

Kella 3amaliyit tejmil machina halla2!

Ya 3layke chou ma-jdoube yekhreb baytik ente

7at dallik hek ente 7at dallik hek!

2al chou 2al? 2al ana badde awwem me2t-eyet el fan


Pfff….chou hableh!

Lezim kabbir 3a2le w kabbir…

7atta ysir sawteh ad3af men khasre

Sar badda chi hamse wghamze w lamse 

7atta el jomhour ya3melneh nejmeh!

Ente mech fenneneh Ente mech fenneneh Ente mech fenneneh w rou7e ndabbeh!

Kawalees Beirut: Lebanon’s Funniest Instagram Account

In such times, a laugh is needed every now and then and I hope the content of this post entertains you as much as it entertained me when I saw it.

Kawalees Beirut

New to the Lebanese internet scene is an Instagram account (link) and Facebook page (link) called Kawalees Beirut. Caline Kajouni, a friend of mine, and with the help of two of her friends: Taline and Patrick, decided to re-create many of the scenes we’re exposed to as Lebanese and put a twist to them.

What if, for instance, you could take a jab at all those Lebanese series where people are in makeup and cocktail dresses all the time even when they go to bed?

What if you could do to that friend who’s stealing your fries exactly what you had in mind as you saw their fingers slither on the table towards your plate?

What if you could do to that doctor who doesn’t listen and wants to compensate for all his years of not making money exactly what you thought of as they wrote you a panadol perscription?

The trio try to answer such questions of our lives and more in extremely funny and short videos that they’re posting on their pages.

My favorite is by far the one about normal Lebanese versus Lebanese in series waking up from sleep:

Normal people waking up VS Waking up in Lebanese TV series.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Another hilarious one is what happens when you step on a Birkenstock, which is admittedly much more painful than stepping on anything else:


Whoever said stepping on Lego is painful never stepped on a Birkenstock. Featuring @vkurumilian and @hrag10

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Or how to handle the latest heat-wave we got:

When there's a heat wave in Lebanon.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Or when you have a friend who never shuts up (guilty as charged):

That annoying friend that just keeps talking and talking.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Or when you don’t wanna give your car to the valet parking service:

That friend who always refuses to give the car to the valet.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Or when pesky Arabic tirashrash music wakes you up from your Sunday nap:

When you're trying to nap on a Sunday afternoon and this happens.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


Or when your friends are trying to converse at a bar:

Your reaction when someone's talking to you in a pub and you can't hear a thing.

A video posted by Kawalees Beirut (@kawaleesbeirut) on


There are many more videos where those came from. You can check out their Instagram page here and their Facebook page here. They’re already up to over 3500 followers between both pages so you know they’re up to something really good.

This is the kind of comedy that I think we need more of in this country: something not cliche, full of humor and with a sarcastic take on our daily lives. Lebanese comedians, take note: three people who have nothing to do with your field are giving you a few lessons.

Fail: Lebanese Media Gives Oprah Cancer

So much for credible news reporting.

Our newspapers have a lot on their plates. Not only do they have a pretty screwed up political situation to wrap their heads around, dismal infrastructure to cover (link) and, well, opinions to dish out like aspirin pills, but they also have a need to keep their readers very well up to date with what’s happening and the who’s who of Hollywood and American pop culture.

Al Balad newspaper and Oprah go way back. A couple of years go, they flashed her picture for an article about Opera, the web browser:

Oprah Opera Al Balad

Today, they’re at it again with what can only be considered a hit article at almost 4000 shares: Oprah has cancer. She will be dead in 12 weeks. And all her money is going to her fans.

Those three statements are bold. You’d think one of Lebanon’s leading newspapers would try to go in depth of each and every single one of them. Cancer. Dead soon. You get money, you get money, YOU ALL GET MONEY.

Guess again. The following are screenshots before the likely take-down of the article, along with a picture of Oprah weeping because, you know, she’d likely be sad because she has cancer:

Layalina and Beiruting.com were also quick to jump on the bandwagon. Anything for Facebook likes and website clicks.

A quick google news search of Oprah reveals the following top results:



You’d think someone like Oprah getting cancer would be top Google news. Anyway, then I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and make sure to include the term “cancer” in my search query:

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 7.38.31 PM


The result is even less important news than before, not that the results before were of any importance either.

Lebanese media is going downhill. Even more renowned newspapers such as Annahar have been very prone to ridicule lately. Check the Twitter feeds of all major news outlets and you’ll find stories being flashed around for dogs with elephant trunks, kangaroos fighting, a Polish woman waking up at the morgue after she was thought dead.

You’d think a newspaper like Al Balad would at least make sure breaking such a story would at least involve making sure it exists in American sources. Guess again. I wonder, if our news outlets make such horrendous mistakes covering such obvious news stories, how badly are they handling the very important reporting that needs to take place in Lebanon?

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Finally Makes It To Lebanon

A couple years ago, we were being taught almost everything there is to know about neurology as part of our medical education. There are countless diseases to be feared and to hope the patients who wander our clinics don’t have, we were told. There’s one, however, that was so severe and yet had so little information known about it that it was simply brushed upon: you will rarely see this, they were told.

I saw it the following month.

I come from a family where ALS is present. I’ve had two family members die in the past few years because of it, the last of whom passed away two years ago. I saw him waste away in front of his family and children, eventually becoming unable to move. Death came upon him before he couldn’t breathe without assistance. At his funeral, his sister told me his fate was kind. Others were not as lucky. He left behind a boy at the brink of graduation and a girl at the bring of school age.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated – literally and figuratively – with videos of people dumping ice water on their heads. The cataclysmic shift from complete obscurity when it comes to ALS to having the disease front and center in the spotlight has caused donations for research purposes to jump several folds. Latest estimates have donations at $4 million in July, up from $1.2 million in the same period last year.

I’ve also seen people complain about how that water can be used in Africa, going about those typical monologues that we hear so often. I’ve seen people complain about how some are doing the ice bucket challenge more for fun than for donations, but does it even matter? The more people dump ice water on themselves, the more people become aware of a disease that has been so rarely spoken about and has had so little research done about it compared to other neurological diseases. You’ve all heard of MS, which stands for multiple sclerosis. MS has J.K. Rowling in the forefront of those donating its research since her mother had it. The most famous person with something similar to ALS is Stephen Hawking.

With videos from a whole lot of celebrities, the ice bucket challenge fever is beginning to come into Lebanon. Tripoli’s Hallab were the first to undergo the challenge, in a YouTube video that they just published for everyone to see. They subsequently challenged Roadster Diner, Zaatar w Zeit, and Crepaway to undergo the same thing.

Almaza has also done their own ice bucket challenge, in a different from than what’s being thrown around:

Ice bucket challenge - Almaza

I give it a couple of days before people start complaining about those dumping ice water on their heads with the water shortage Lebanon is going through this summer, but that didn’t stop a group of Lebanese from already making fun of the lack of water this summer:

Either way, I hope this also serves as a way for Lebanese society to become more acquainted with ALS, and to become engaged – even if in a little way – in the global move to make it known and actively fought.

I hope both Hallab and Almaza donated money as well to the research process. In case you want to donate, click here.

The best ice bucket challenge you will watch, however, isn’t that of Carrie Underwood, Oprah, Tim Cook or whatever other celebrity you’ve seen around. It’s the following one. Watch it until the very end.

Fadel Shaker Wants To Fight in Syria

I find it very hard to believe this is the same man who, a few years ago, was busy churning out hits about romance and love. Looking at him now, singing about love is the furthest thing from what I’d expect.

Fadel Shaker, currently serving as Ahmad el Assir’s right-hand, wants to fight for the honor of Muslim women in Syria. Therefore, he wants your support and money. He even has an email.

I’d write a line about the need for jihad calls in Syria emanating out of Lebanon to be illegal. But that would defeat the purpose seeing as Hezbollah is fighting with one side while Sunni extremists are fighting with another. And this isn’t really about the message behind Fadel Shaker’s message as much as it is about the radicalization of this former pop-star who now sends greetings to Sunni Muslims and only Sunni Muslims on Twitter, insults the patriarch and bashes anyone who dares criticize his master Ahmad el Assir.

Lebanon’s psychologists, wouldn’t he make a fine specimen for a case study?


Thank you Kalim Chidiac for the tip.

The Israeli Aircrafts Invading Lebanon’s Airspace

Israeli warplanes have been invading Lebanon’s airspace ever since I can remember. Most of us are used to them and their sound. Many get angry when they see them patrolling our skies. Others have simply grown accustomed to tuning them out.

What do our governments do regarding those aircrafts? They complain to the U.N. Because that’s the only thing we can do.

Over the past few days, the frequency of the breaches of Lebanon’s airspace by our Southern enemy has been dramatically increasing. The jets have been flying at a lower altitude than usual. And still our country hasn’t done anything. I guess addressing the issue is redundant at this point.

We send out drones. They send out jets. Tit-for-tat.

I have to wonder: how many more breaches of Lebanon’s airspace should happen before our country decides to invest in some anti-aircraft weaponry? Are we waiting till we start digging into our oil and gas reserves for that?

However, I may have found the key element into getting our government up in a fit regarding the breaches. Dear Marwan Charbel, the pilot driving that airplane is gay. Are you sure you want to let him in?

Until then, perhaps we should start advertising our airspace as another touristic attraction? It sure sounds like one.


University Crushes Taken To A New Level: Psst App

Psst App

The LAU, USJ, AUB, USEK, NDU & UOB Crushes pages which occupied 95% of our Facebook timelines over the past few weeks have gone to the next level by finding a companion in a new app called: Psst App. Yes, the “psst” is exactly what is said to grab someone’s attention “psst, psst.”

The premise is very simple: You log in through your Facebook account and use the app to talk anonymously to anyone you want, effectively making the possibilities much more diverse than simply talking to someone you like.

So if you have a crush who happens to be a Facebook friend, you can take it to the extra level now and stop posting anonymously about them on your university’s crush or hottie page.

You can add the app via your Facebook account by clicking here or downloading the Android version here. This is gossiping, Lebanon style.