After Saddam, The Music

Iraq's Divided Pop World Awaits Life in the War's Wake

Kazim al Sahir, dramatic to the max
photo: Lori Cain
Kazim al Sahir, dramatic to the max

I've yet to find music as vital as these from any of Kurdistan's female singers—though ubiquitous Kurdistan heartthrob Natalia sings her version of Beirut pop in a husky contralto far fiercer than the genre's usual cuteness. Fierce singing is, of course, a necessity for a society of pesh mergen (people who face death); less expected is that the Kurdistan Democratic Party Web site, on which you can download the music of Perwer, Abbas, and Natalia, also features music from Israel—prominent in its downloads is the Israeli pop group Silan. Abbas, too, has a song—from Xeribo, his new CD (available from Troygift.com)—in which he forcefully mentions Israel. Definitely the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Our own country, when we (hopefully) soon do what has to be done in Iraq, must not forget the Kurds: their courage, their difference, and the large expectations they have of what our friendship can mean to them—and to the future of Kurdish arts.

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