Casabanca- Music has always allowed different cultures to interact, open up and learn about one another, exchange and get inspired. Music is an artistic form through which cultural differences blend to generate beautiful outcomes. One of the recent fruits of this cultural symbiosis through music is the twenty three year old Jennifer Grout.
She is a young, talented American who was unknown to the world until she participated in season three of Arab’s Got Talent. Daughter to two musicians, Jennifer was introduced to the cosmos of music at a very early age. Later in her life, she came across Arab music surfing on the internet, instantly falling for it.
Jennifer attracted all spotlights after she sang a song by the legendary Egyptian singer, Oum Kalthoum, while playing on the exotic “Oud” instrument, her childhood companion.
“I started playing the “Oud” three years ago,” stated Jennifer as quoted by huffpostmaghreb.com.
Her performance sent goosebumps down the spines of both the jury and the audience. Jennifer gave audiences from around the world watching her performance an unprecedented experience of Oum Kalthoum, with an enchanting infusion of a natural American accent and a stunning voice with the magical lyrics and rhythms of one of Oum Kathoum’s most celebrated songs.
Further astonished were Arab’s Got Talent’s jury and audience when they learned that she did not master classical Arabic, yet performed the song as though she were fluent in Arabic. Jennifer later explained that she looked for the meaning of those Arabic songs on the internet.
“No, I don’t speak Arabic, but I sing it!” responded Jennifer to AGT hosts’ question on whether she spoke the language she sang.
“To understand the lyrics, I look up translations on the net or ask some of my Arab friends to translate them for me,” Jennifer further explained.
Jennifer also confessed that she could sing any Arabic song with a great feeling, as she thinks that the rhythms and melodies of the Arabic music are magical on their own.
Her singing of Oum Kalthoum’s “Ba’id Annak” (away from you) stunned the jury and earned her a collective ‘Yes’ in her very first audition, thus allowing her to continue her adventure on the path of Arabian rhythms.
That’s not all! Jennifer also sings in Amazigh also known as Berber the native language for many cultures in North Africa, and videos of her singing Amazigh songs baffled the public with amazement.
“Thank you Jennifer for singing in Tamazight,” read one of the comments on the Youtube video featuring Jennifer singing in Tamazight, “I would have mistaken you for a girl from Atlas, had I not already known you were American. This is a message to all of you who show disinterest towards your own identities.”
One thing Jennifer would never forget is the jury’s comments after her first performance:
“You don’t speak Arabic, yet you sing better than some Arab singers!” commented Najwa Karam, Lebanese star and member of AGT’s jury, “We have for so long imitated the West, and this the first time that a person who has no whatsoever link to the Arab world, an American girl who does not speak Arabic, sings Arabic songs!”
“You have just offered an excellent performance,” commented journalist and MBC director Ali Jaber, another member of the jury, “You have a very beautiful voice, and you transmit very strong emotions…I foresee a bright future for you.”
Jennifer has recently earner her deserved ticket to the finals after another amazing performance of the song “Ya Toyoor” (Oy, birds!) of another celebrated Arab singer, the Syrian Asmahan. Jennifer sang the song with an incredible sensation, as she delicately waved her arms in a crystal-blue, memorizing dress, imitating the movement of birds’ wings when flying.
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