The heartbeat of protest

The heartbeat of protest

An addictive pop number from the conflict zone.

A screengrab from the video

In its rollin-trolling three minutes, Mashkara encompasses the pain and cynicism of an entire people. And beware, it is the sort of earworm that loops and loops and refuses to unloop in your head. By the end of it, I also wanted to “pour another glass and roll a cigarette” just like its singer Bashar Murad, arguably the most popular face of Palestinian pop music. 

Murad, some might know, provided the backing vocals for Coldplay’s song ‘Orphans’ and is a much-celebrated gay icon, an outlier-insider in the conservative middle-eastern world.

The groovy beat and the intrinsically rhythmic Arabic do not hide the song’s sense of abandon that stems out of being numbed by everyday conflict and tragedy.

Mashkara means ‘mockery’ in Arabic and rarely does one get to see the music video and lyrics of a song being so faithful to its title. Murad sings: “Pour another glass, Roll a cigarette, Maybe I’ll forget this mockery. Maybe I’ll forget this mockery, I feel like I keep going backward” while he is literally walking backwards and graffiti-ridden walls keep collapsing next to him.  

This is Palestinian pop showing a cracked mirror to the world.

Play By Ear showcases a potential earworm for you, the discerning listener, who is on the hunt for some musical serendipity.

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