A new song by the newcomer Amir Abu offers lyrics in Hebrew and Arabic. “The song represents who I am,” says the Beersheba native.
Before you click “play” on Amir Abu’s latest single, you might get the wrong impression. With a title like Balagan (“Chaos”), the first thing that comes to mind is an upbeat pop song from the Middle East. But within seconds it turns out to be a stunning song by an artist who defines himself as “sensitive”. The “chaos” he sings about is in his own heart.
Abu, a 26-year-old Muslim Arab, was born and raised in Beersheba and attended Jewish schools all his life. He was born into the music scene and inherited the music passion from his father, who plays the oud.
Following his appearance on a musical reality show, Abu began recording Arabic covers of Hebrew songs and made his own music videos and posted them online. His latest song, Balagan , presents the two languages in which he has lived his entire life – Arabic and Hebrew.
“It’s the first song I wrote with my music director, Nofar Makover, and it is really about us,” he says. “It focuses on the chaos of the mind. Feelings of confusion.”
Some call him the Arab Omar Adam (a popular Israeli artist).
“It started with a cover I did of Omer Adam’s “Pa’am BaHayim” (Once in a Lifetime), and then I started getting a lot of fans. From that moment, I felt I could enter the music industry.”
I did another cover of an Omer song, then I was interviewed and hence the nickname came from “the Arab Omer Adam”. It was a compliment, because Omer is an incredible singer. “
When asked what he thought of the added word “Arab”, he said, “In general, I do not think we need to categorize people. I’m here to make music, to sing in Hebrew as well as Arabic, because it represents who I am as a Muslim Arab living in Beersheba. My Jewish friends have never made me feel any different. I spoke Hebrew before I spoke Arabic. Sometimes I think in Hebrew, but I dream in Arabic.
“My parents raised me to think that we were no different from other people, and I never felt different. I went to a Jewish school and I never felt discriminated against.”