Israeli-UAE joint song a YouTube hit

'Hello you,' a collaboration between Israeli singer Elkana Marziano and Emirati artist Walid Aljasim, has over 1.1 million YouTube views.

Tags: Song UAE
AFP ,

Israel-UAE
Israel-UAE
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The scene cuts from Dubai to Tel Aviv, the lyrics switch from Arabic to Hebrew to English and the song is a slightly kitsch electro-pop duet by artists who, for now, remain apart.

The normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has produced its first musical collaboration: "Ahlan Bik", or "Hello you" in Arabic.

"This is a historic moment," said Israeli singer Elkana Marziano, whose duet with Emirati artist Walid Aljasim has clocked more than 1.1 million YouTube views since it was posted on September 30.

Marziano, 28, is a former winner of Israel's version of The Voice, a singing competition TV show, and an Arabic speaker influenced by the Mizrahi culture of Jews from the Arab world.

He told AFP that he and Aljasim had collaborated over the Zoom video-conferencing service, with some parts of the song recorded in Dubai and others in Israel.

"The understanding was immediate," Marziano said of the partnership.

One online commentator, who posted under the name Shaked Sharon, said: "With this song, you feel the new Middle East."


- Live concert -

The song was written by Doron Medalie, who also wrote "Toy", which won the 2018 Eurovision contest in Israel.

The chorus -- "I hear you friend far away, far away" -- is repeated in the three languages, while the music video's action pivots from Marziano dancing with friends in Israel to Aljasim in Dubai.

Marziano said it was a "personal victory" to see young Israelis and Emiratis interacting online to discuss the song on his YouTube page, adding that he is planning a live concert with Aljasim when the coronavirus pandemic ends.

"I am very moved by the idea of singing this song, and others, on the same stage (with Aljasim)," Marziano told AFP.



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