Today was full of music, more specifically, songs I myself was singing. It all began in the “Singing Club,” my attendance in which is regulated by the stipulations of the fellowship. In the club we listen to Arabic songs and look at the lyrics and try to understand them.
I think most of the people in the “club” didn’t know what they were getting themselves into and thus failed to realize that we ourselves are required to sing most of the songs after we listen to them. Since some of the students are shy/self-censored/or have quiet voices, our half-hearted attempts to sing along with the Arabic songs looks comedic/pathetic. There is some real talent, however, and one of the students brought his guitar along today and could play the songs after just listening to them once or twice. It only took me months of practicing a single piano piece before I could play it with ease….we’re equally gifted, right?
This same student brought his guitar to Al-Azhar Park today, a park on the outskirts of Cairo (I think) near Moqqattam where the trash collectors live and there are cave churches and exorcisms on Thursday nights. The park was beautiful….marble pathways, palm and other kinds of trees, fountains, grass, all of Cairo at our feet in a dusty, sweltering maze and us above breathing “fresh” air and being rejuvenated by green things.
We had quite the sing along in the park. The idea was to switch back and forth from English songs by the Americans to Arabic songs by the Egyptians….I’m not sure what happened but the vast majority of the songs ended up being American pop music. Among the songs we played: Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson. I have a tendency to be overcome by the music sometimes when a song has particularly poingant lyrics, so I may or may not have raised my voice to a shouting/screeching level at the line “You had your chance you blew it; out of sight out of mind. Shut your mouth I just can’t take it…again and again and again and again” while pointing directly at the nice student playing guitar. There always has to be a target or it doesn’t seem believable. I’m just glad we didn’t play Total Eclipse of the Heart or that would have been a real disaster. And by that I mean it’s going to happen probably soon and I’m not going to be sorry for the spectacle I make of myself.
One interesting thing about Al-Azhar park: it used to be a trash heap and some guy saw it and said “I will make this a park one day where it will cost each patron 5 pounds to enter” and so it was. I think there’s more to the story but I can’t remember all of it.