Michael Kiwanuka’s Album Love & Hate

Country: United Kingdom
Genre(s): Soul- Folk- Folk rock
Experience: 2011-present

Michael Kiwanuka has released a new album entitled Love & Hate. The music reminds me of Bob Marley’s music in the 70’s.  

The first song Cold Little Heart is mostly music and you don’t hear Kiwanuka singing much in it. It’s a long introduction to the album. The music has a smooth rhythm, however.  His songs tell stories of social issues such as racism. The song Black Man in a White World  is an important example of this taking place. It’s a song that gets you thinking about your place in the world. In this case it’s dominated by “white people”, from my interpretation of the song.  He refers a lot to the subject of heartbreak such as the song I’ll Never Love Somebody. This song is relatable and nicely written. The music overall has a slow rhythm. I would have a preferred songs that had a faster beat. As I mentioned before, his music reminds me of Bob Marley’s songs such as No Woman No Cry, and Get up, Stand Up.

The lyrics of Kiwanuka’s songs are deep and rich with meaning. They’re also thought- provoking, which gives us his perspective on the world of today.  The  Black Man in a White World reminds of Get up, Stand Up  in terms of the socio-political message it conveys. Father’s Child is song that touched me deeply. It sounds like his relationship with his father faced obstacles. My apologies if the meaning isn’t clear to me.

The song Love & Hate has an optimistic message of hope and courage. The determination is very present in this song. The song ends with a musical bit that’s interesting. Place I Belong is also an optimistic song. Rule The World deals with emotional issues within oneself, but also show the willingness to seek help from others.

Kiwanuka’s voice is smooth and beautiful. I see potential for this artist. It’s not my style, but I can see people enjoying and appreciating his music.

My fave songs are: Love & Hate, Place I Belong, and Black Man in White World.


Nassif Zeytoun Toul El Yom: Album of the Summer!

Country: Syria
Genre: Arabic Pop/ Folk

Nassif Zeytoun has released a new album “Toul El-Yom” (Throughout the day).  It’s Arabic pop with hint of Folklore. There is also pop music that’s similar to American music.This is his third album in his career, as well as his second one for this year. He released it last March; it’s “Mich Aam Tezbat Maii” (It’s not working out for me).

The music in this album is an interesting hybrid of musical genres: dabkeh with pop and folk. It’s like East meets West without one overpowering the other.  The music has the influence of Tarab (classic Arab music from the period of the 40s to the 70s). Some songs remind of songs from the late AbdelHalim Hafez.  It reminds of Syrian culture and its rich history. There’s darbakeh (similar to a drum) and qanoon (and instrument with strings) that are used in the music.

His voice is lovely and rich. It’s consistent and flows smoothly. When you hear Nassif Zeytoun sing, it’s unforgettable.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he was asked to perform at weddings. He adapts his voice well to the music, especially when his sings the Arabic pop music.  I look forward to hearing his other albums.

My favourite songs are “Nami Aa Sadri”, “Toul El Yom”, “Aala Ayya Asas”, “Adda wa Edoud”, and “Shou Helo”. *

On a side note:
In 2010, Nassif Zeytoun he won the competition at the Star Academy Arab World (Arabic version of Star Academy). He was the first Syrian to have won this competition.

*Translation for the titles of the Arabic songs coming soon



Iwan’s 2016 Single “Al Akaber”

Country: Lebanon
Genre: Arabic pop

Iwan released a new single “Al Akaber” (Translation: unknown subject to change). The music and lyrics by Iwan. A Summer hit for the Lebanese pop star. 🙂

The lyrics are deep and thought-provoking. There’s a religious feel to it in a subtle way. It doesn’t explicitly mentioned God or any religion. It’s the second song performed by Iwan that isn’t a romantic one.  This song is about doing good deeds. With the depth of these lyrics, it was tough to understand the meaning of the song. It took me few time times to understand because there’s a poetic vocabulary that is close to the literary Arabic.

The music is consistent. The beat is very Jazz-like. It compliments the lyrics and Iwan’s voice very well.  The end of the song where the music fades is a nice touch. The overall composition is incredible and also poetic like the lyrics.

Every single Iwan releases is just as amazing as the one before it. I look to his next album. His music is incredible. Plus, he’s known for writing and composing many his own songs.