A Musical Odyssey in Time and Space

I was listening to some music last night and thought of a song I had not listened to in a while. It is “Aisha” by the group Outlandish. They are from Denmark apparently, with members from Honduras, Pakistan, and Morocco.

I first heard this song in December of 2003 in Tashkent. Actually, there is a possibility I first heard it in October, but looking back I can’t be sure. Anyways, it makes a better story if it’s December, so it is officially December. So there! It was on or about mid-December and a friend of mine and I were on the way out on R&R. We had processed in Houston together and arrived a day or two apart. We spent a few days there before flying out. Of course this was before the lockdowns and other ridiculous stuff imposed by the company folks, so you could go out and do whatever you wanted. Out in the clubs we heard this amazing song. We both noticed it, and it was obvious that nearly everyone else really seemed to like it a lot, too. In a nutshell, it sings the praises of a woman living her life. It tugs all the right heartstrings.

Later, I heard another song that was slightly different but very similar. I recognized it at once. Same tune, but it sounded like this one was in French. Obviously, this was the original one that the other was based on. And then we flew out.

When I got back to the states, I began to look for the song on Kazaa, that wonder of programs. I knew enough words to be able to find it. I just wasn’t sure how to spell the name. In the end, it didn’t take real long. Success! It turns out that the song was originally done by Cheb Khaled, an Algerian. Interestingly enough, I had already got a tune or two of his from my connection with the Bosnian Mafia. None were the one I was looking for though, so it’s not as ironic as it could be. Anyways, I downloaded a few different versions. Later on I’d find and buy one of his CDs.

So one of my unrepentant joys during this vacation was simply to drive my long-lost car around and listen to music. I found it amusing that the higher quality of my car stereo showed me things about the music that I had never noticed before on my crappy desktop speakers. I’m sure this comes as no surprise when you think about it, but it does if you haven’t thought about it! Smile

Sometime Christmas Eve, my brother Roy and I go out looking for something or other. I can’t even remember what it was, except the only things still open were the ubiquitous drugstores with the ever-present supply of crap. I start the car, the most recent CD track starts playing, and after about 3 seconds Roy goes, “Hey, that’s Cheb Khaled!” Whoa! I wouldn’t expect hardly anyone in the States to recognize that, nor so fast, but Roy is also a world traveler type, too. It turns out that he had heard him sometime somewhere in North Africa I think. How’s that for a coincidence?

So last night I was thinking about how these things travel: Algeria to Uzbekistan and then on to the States. It amazes me to think how certain things are the same all over, no matter where you are. Ideas and art needn’t be confined to a particular place, and they can move all over the world. Now, most of the rest of the world is more apt to have international music over the US, since we are pretty insular compared to other places. I hear all sorts of tunes from everywhere, US included, but you don’t see that working in reverse very often. You even see it here in Iraq. I turned the channel today while riding back from chow, so as to avoid that horrid Christmas music. I went over to the main Iraqi channel here that comes in with decent reception, and voila! Outlandish’s Aisha! I were positively inspired, I must say. Timing is everything! One year, almost to the day, it comes full circle again…

On an unrelated note, yet vaguely relevant to the season: There is a guy named Christ here, however he is not yet a corporal, but only a PFC.

Unrelated, yet not relevant to the season either: Angry Muslim Man is hollering up something fierce over the prayer speakers. He sounds…angry…about something.

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