0002 Arabs Got Talent
This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Center for East Asian Studies and the Center for Global and International Studies.
Across the Arab world, people tune in to Arabs Got Talent. This season, audiences were taken by one particular singer. While other contestants performed western music, she sang a cover of Um Kulthoum, (oom kalsoom)a legendary Egyptian diva with a career that spanned 40 years. Kulthoum is known for her rhythmic complexity and emotional richness and is considered “the greatest female Arabic singer” ever. The contestant nailed it: passion, perfect pitch, and flawless pronunciation of complex microtones! Why is this such a big deal? Because the singer, Jennifer Grout, is an American who barely speaks Arabic that’s why. Though she didn’t win, she did place in the top three. So what’s next? Well, there’s always African click language if she wants a challenge. Africa’s Got Talent, here she comes!
With thanks to Jennifer Duhamel for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.