For the Love of the Sea and Arabic Music

In front of the sea we roam in a comforting instability. The endless wet emptiness invokes feelings of fear, love, challenge and surrender. We can see the sea as water or as a continuation of our contradiction. We can hear it as noise or as a sonata. We can feel it as liquid or as an elixir. The five musicians below chose the latter.


One way of understanding the world is to see it as an island in a large body of water. Although it parts us from our loved ones, we can also consider it connecting us to them.

Shiraz is a Jordanian band led by Muhannad Aljabi. Their cover of “Babori Rayeh Rayeh” (My Ship is Going, Going) is highly original: it’s oriental, fresh and lively (just wait till min 1:30). The song has also been sung by the renowned Iraqi singer Ilham Al-Madfai.


No matter how far we go in our interpretations of the sea, we cannot ignore its romance.

In “Bahib il Bahr” (I love the Sea), it is personified as a lover; its playful azure waves, and calming hushing sound replaces human love and affection.

Kamilya Jubran is a Palestinian musician and singer whose songs are a product of delicate and genuine emotion.


Beirut, Alexandria and Jaffa invoke thoughts of fishermen, sunsets and blue horizons. As such, the sea becomes inseparable from the inhabitants that live by it; it eventually becomes part of their speech, thoughts and feelings.

Law Shirboo ilBahar (If They Drank the Sea) is a beautiful song by the Palestinian band Wil’at.


Apart from its beauty, the sea in Lebanon represents to the chaos of the country.

“Bahr” (Sea) is an interesting song by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Laila that introduces a new perception of the sea as a thief. The singer converses with the sea and pleads in anguish for help to find his brother whom the waves have stolen.


“Bahr Altoufan” (Sea of Flood) by Mohammad Albaji, laments the loss of a loved one who went out to the sea in the morning but did not return.

 Tala El-issa (@tala_bd_elissa) is a blogger whose writing can be found here and who can be found on facebook here.

Edited by Noora Ismail

Cover image: Vintage photograph entitled “On the sea of Galilee, Palestine”.



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