Zina (Babylone) cover
I have made a cover version of this Algerian pop song by Babylone. The lighthearted approach - just to record a love song which is close to my heart and send
greetings from London to the south - turned out to be an interesting experiment.
First of all, I didn't literally understand most of the words I was singing, since the Algerian dialect is quite different from the Modern Standard Arabic. Of course I had read translations and I knew what the song was about. But to interpret it without knowing what the single words meant, just singing them phonetically, was a striking experience. Your voice normally projects your thoughts through timbre, groove, volume, etc. - maybe what we call "expression". So, what happens if you just form sounds but do not have an image or thought aka reflexive sense aka mission that motivates them? Do you fall back into singing techniques to make your voice sound decent? Is that even possible? I mean, is there singing without thought? Is there artistic method without artistic intention? Is there language without meaning?
Another interesting thing to me about this production is the mix of styles. I have - entre autres - been trained in European classical singing. To use a thusly formed voice for a pop song might be unusual. But the original song has already undertaken a similar mix up of styles, as the Babylone singer's singing style is influenced by an Arabic singing tradition. And all of that meets in - what we laconically call - "pop". So is pop - or even better "world music" - the new vessel for a new musical culture that is happening in the global society? If not, how come that there seems to be an imperialistic presence around the globe of pop music schemes and patterns, being copied and re-copied by musicians from different cultures? Could the combination of theses styles be an approach to diversify and publicise musical culture or is it actually narrowing down a diversity that has existed before?
© Lilian Beidler 2019