The Erbil promoters of the Capital of Arab Tourism have employed one of the Middle East’s best known female songstresses to play a tune for them. But there’s a small problem. The same singer, Samira Said, was employed by Saddam Hussein to sing hymns to his regime, the same regime that tried to exterminate Iraq’s Kurds. It’s just the latest in a series of image problems for the wannabe-tourist mecca.
One of the most recent triumphs for authorities in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, had was getting their metropolis named Capital of Arab Tourism for 2014. A schedule of events to draw more attention to the city and to attract visitors has been launched, as has a promotional campaign. But the latter has already run into some controversy.
Local officials have brought in Moroccan-born singer, Samira Said, to perform a song called “Erbil”, in which the musical star, who’s well known throughout the Arab world, praises the locale for its beauty.
Apparently Said was chosen, in part, because she is one of the nominees in the Monte Carlo-based World Music Awards, where best selling artists in each region and in various categories are given prizes. Said has been nominated for her single, “Mazal” and she’s also up for the Best Female Artist prize.
I wanted to write briefly about Carrie Underwood. Niqash has been hacked repeatedly and I wanted to highlight something at their site in a show of solidarity so I went with a singer since I'm going to write about a singer.
I could not tell you one song Carrie Underwood sings.
Sorry. Not a country music fan.
But I am really taken aback by the attacks on her online because, next month, she's doing a live version of The Sound of Music on NBC.
I honestly thought it was airing today and planned to check out a few minutes. I went into the TV room in C.I.'s home hoping sports was over and it was. The Crazy Ones was just starting and I asked about the special and one of the guests told me that yesterday (Wednesday), NBC did a special on the rehearsals for the show but that the broadcast was next month.
(So we watched The Crazy Ones -- very funny show.)
Do people not get that this was a play before it was a movie?
In 1959, Mary Martin (Broadway's Peter Pan among other roles and also the mother of Larry Hagman) played the lead in The Sound of Music. Julie Andrews played the lead in the film.
She's beloved for that role (among others).
She should be. Julie Andrews is a very talented artist.
But that doesn't mean Carrie Underwood's evil or wrong for doing this project.
I can watch Julie over and over in Mary Poppins, Victor/Victoria, etc. Not in The Sound of Music.
I really am not that into the movie. I've seen it probably ten times and that was enough.
On an episode of Will & Grace, they did a spoof of it and that actually made me interested in watching the movie when NBC broadcast it that year.
I would argue Carrie Underwood's project will have the same effect.
I also think there's something really sad about all this hate aimed at her.
We still haven't seen her in the role.
I hope she's wonderful in it.
She's already impressed me in that I learned rehearsal footage was aired this week.
I really assumed they'd spend a week or two on it and then do it live. They're really working on this production.
We need more live TV. We need something other than contests and those awful procedural shows on TV.
I would love to see all the networks do live musicals each Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
So those are my thoughts on the upcoming special. Okay, it airs December 5th.
Okay, here's what went up at The Common Ills today: