On the day of our most hectic radio show yet (at that time), we were surprised and honored to spontaneously welcome JadaL to our stage. As they set up their impromptu set I started to ask questions but the interview timing wasn’t right so I caught up with them after, with the questions below.
A renowned Arabic rock band from Jordan, Jadal has seen fame since 2003 with their alternative approach to music in the Arab world. Mahmoud Radeideh is the lead composer and writer while Ahmed Zou’bi is the voice of the group. I asked Radeideh a few questions about his band through email and this is what he had to say.
The name JadaL means “controversial” in Arabic — have you had any controversies as a band in the Middle East? Or anything get you guys in trouble?
The controversy was generally in the style of music which in 2003 wasn’t common — Arabic Rock.
Your style has been described as “groundbreaking” because you mix Arabic and rock — did you know that you were doing something so unique at the time? How did you come up with this sound?
Well back in 2003 it was a new thing, people weren’t used to these kind of songs yet. That’s why we started with a rearrangement of Abdel Haleem’s song “El Toba” so people would know what to expect when we started releasing singles that.
Does what’s going on in the Middle East — the Syrian civil war and Arab Spring affect your music?
I write about what influences me personally. Social and humanitarian matters do influence me. There’s so much lying in politics, I once wrote about how politics is a big lie, but the song wasn’t released or even performed yet. I don’t feel like riding that wave anyway, unless I get influenced of course!
How is freedom of speech protected or not protected in Jordan?
Since I only write about society, personal, and humanity matters I don’t face any issues. Even people who sing about politics or to be specific about the Jordanian issues don’t usually face issues, as long as it’s constructive criticism.
Lastly, do you enjoy performing in Beirut?
Of course! It was fun when we performed in 2010 and recently in 2013. Even though they say the Lebanese crowd isn’t an easy one, we didn’t face any problems and it’s always fun! Maybe they like us?
I know they do! Here is the video of JadaL performing their greatest hit, Salma, live on our radio show.
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