Tag Archives: music




Here’s a bit of pop culture from North Africa! Cheb Khaled is an Algerian singer, and everyone loves him. Me included. Definitely beats “Call Me Maybe,” which was topping the charts when I got back to the US. (Call me maybe? Really?)

This song topped OUR charts o’er yonder, and we all know the words. I listen to it and am transported back to our home sweet van, singing and dancing to this as we trundle through the Moroccan countryside.


Art Talk, Episode 5


It is officially afternoon on my day of illness and pain, and I have not done any homework like I said I would, and for that I am SO PROUD!! I’ve been sitting here playing ukelele and being sick and smelling like a sick person all day. Allie brought me crackers and yogurt and bananas, which according to Google are good things to eat when pooping yourself inside out.

I ALSO want to show all you home-people my haircut, which I like and forgot to show you because Georgia. LOOK AT ME NOW!





The Art Part of this post

Also, I looked like that when I made the song I posted for you below. YEAH. SINGING SONGS CURLED ON BED SICK.

Also, Art Talk! I know that I’ve only posted around 2 of them, but this is Episode 5 because I have 3 that I started a long time ago and never got around to finishing. Oh, well.

Today, we’re going to appreciate JUST DO IT RIGHT NOW MUSIC! This is a porpoisefully (yes I mean that) unedited cover of an awesome song that I first heard Ernie play in Georgia. It’s called Built for This by Ben Sollee. So here’s the challenge: cover it on 1st takes only, no editing, no listening to what you did, just DO IT and POST IT. So, I listened to Ben Sollee’s version on youtube a couple times, got the lyrics from the internet, played it through a couple times, and then boop! Recorded, no tag backs. On garageband, with Mr. MacBook’s built-in mic. Nothing fancy, just me and a ukelele.

It’s all part of this new bit I’m working on: make music. Just–make music.

And don’t worry about it.

Keep faith, spread love.


And here, I am, smiling through tears, figuring things out, slowly but surely.


Keep faith.


I keep repeating this to myself when I feel myself slipping into that simmering, muted panic: a silent terror that everything that keeps my identity intact is gone, and that bit by bit, I’m turning into a stranger. Sometimes it feels even scarier than that: it’s as though I’m slowly erasing myself out of the life I’m accustomed to, and soon I won’t be anyone at all anymore. I miss being sure of who I am, and what I mean to the people I love, and I have a really hard time keeping faith in myself and what I’m doing. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Shouldn’t I feel built up, enriched, strengthened? Perhaps, with time. With patience. Doucement, doucement, we’ll say. Schwiya, schwiya.

It’s so much easier to become disheartened here, because I still haven’t mastered the art of allowing myself to be me without judgment. If the above paragraph sounds a little crazy, well, okay. Sometimes we all get a little crazy. I just read an e-mail from a friend and felt as though I’d just released a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding; as though I could suddenly remember what it feels like to have my feet on the ground again.  It left me in one of those laugh and cry at the same time sort of moods, so I turned on some old Motown favorites and remembered how lucky I am to have friends who are so unapologetically wonderful—and who remind me that I can be that way too. She said a lot of wonderful things, like this:

Know that everyone you’ve ever looked up to has also felt stupid and clumsy and lonely before, too. Be gentle. Be you. You are doing something good by being there, because YOU are good.

Keep it real, friends. Keep faith. Second thing, before I fall asleep:

Spread love.

Remember the Ramblin’ Years? Yeah. Just spread love. It’s simpler than you think it is.

(To all ye non-SU readers: we were a band that Sean started as a Battle of the Bands side-project last year, and it unexpectedly turned into something special. It was just one of those things. Ya know. E-mail me if you want a link to the video, sweenums@gmail.com!)

The four of us, scattered across the world, have been catching up via group messages that have reminded me how easy and important it is to spread love. Why be detatched and aloof, as I fear I can be sometimes? Why be afraid of being only human? Remember the good times, the good people, and the music that you feel way down in your bones. It isn’t so hard after all.

That’s all I got today, folks. So, in true Moroccan fashion (Moroccans love Bob Marley, it’s kind of hilarious. Every live band in any bar in this entire country knows at least one Bob Marley song), I leave you with this song.



Keep faith, spread love.






I never realized how enormous a role music plays (PUN) in my everyday life, until I began to have these random music cravings. Ladies, it’s like craving a bacon cheeseburger and chocolate and pistachio ice cream when it’s your Happy Week: insatiable. Absolutely, persistently, gnawingly insatiable. It’s not just getting a song stuck in my head, it’s YOU MUST HEAR THIS SONG RIGHT NOW OR I WILL BREAK IT DOWN AND SING IT OUT LOUD ON THE BUS, AND THERE IS NOTHING YOUR PITIFUL EXCUSE FOR SELF-CONTROL CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Before you ask, yes I have done it. Well, not on the bus, on the street. It was faaaabulous. It was Mariah Carey, except US. YEEES INDEEEEEDY.

I realized that I listen to music every DAY at home, so now my brain must be somehow revolting against the lack of Western music; though I do love Moroccan music (ANOTHER BLOG POST, ANOTHER TIME: MOROCCAN MUSIC), and hear it pretty much every night on my host family’s strange Maghribian MTV.

So now I have to plan ahead for my Western music fix, because my subconscious keeps shoving totally rando songs into my head, demanding to be played during a would’ve-been-quiet moment snatched in our bedroom. Yesterday, it was this song:

So I listened to it twice while running in the park, and also danced. SO GOOD. NOT CHRISTMAS? DON’T CARE. MARIAH CAREY IS CHRISTMAS.

Also danced randomly to THIS one today. I was going to make a video of me dancing to it, but photobooth pooped out and it’s late-ish anyway (I promise to upload a silly dancing video eventually!!! PROMISE), so you just get to watch a boring music video. Imagine me dancing to it.

We ate delicious Italian food tonight at Luigi’s, which is our new favorite sanctuary (when we need a little bit of familiarity. Pasta: not frequently eaten here). Barry White and pesto pasta: yes, I do believe I shall, grazie. Sarah, Allie and I were really loopy from a long day and a lot of Fousha, so we giggled a lot and made the waiter laugh with our gasps and cries of amazement when he brought out platters of steaming spaghetti and lasagna.

Tomorrow morning, at oh-god-I-wish-I-were-still-asleep o’clock, we shall part for somewhere outside Casablanca, where we’ll meet with/volunteer for a couple NGOs, and then we shall travel onward to Marrakesh, to do Marrakeshy things (I suppose). We have no plans, no hotels or anything, so I’m excited to see how this’ll work out. I’m packing plenty of toilet paper, just in case. I’m also not bringing Mr. MacBook with me, so please excuse my absence from the tubes for the next three days. I’ll post Sunday or Monday or something, if I make it back alive.

THIS is what I think of awesome Italian food, Darija class, and YOU:

P.S.: Sometimes I wonder about the Quality of the Stories on this blog, and then I remember that I don’t care. I’ll re-read a post (like this one) and wonder should I actually post that? Is it good/eloquent/blahblahblah enough? Then I remind myself that this is all about staying somehow connected with the world I left in the U.S., and sharing whatever the eff comes out of my brain with the Internet because WHY NOT?! Anyway, hope you enjoy Blog, Crazies and all.

Much lovin sent your way! To Marrakesh, and beyond!

Yogurt and Dates and SONG and Art Talk, Part I


Sometimes all we have time for is a quick lunch of yogurt and dates, purchased from a hanout in between the university and Qalam.  That sounds really exotic and cool, but really it’s just liquidiy go-gurtish stuff and dates.

Also, on our way home today, Allie bought EFFloads of ingredients for trail mix. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday lunch problem = SOLVED. I got next round, guuuuuurl! YESSSS!


Today, Allie, Sarah and I decided to explore Marjane, a faraway department store, which is tucked behind a mallish sort of thing full of pricey European-ish shops. The sharp divide between rich and poor jumped out of the ordinary and seemed so strange all over again as we wandered, bewildered, through aisles of clothing, food, toys, and office supplies. Everyone there looked pretty posh and bouzhie (I have no idea how to spell that), and though it looked familiarly U.S.ian, it was a bit off-putting. What is this place? we asked one another. It’s hard to understand how this sort of store can even exist within a 10-mile radius of the medina and kasbah we are learning to call home. I bought a notebook for school and a bar of chocolate, and was slightly relieved to leave.

Here in Morocco (though I have seen exceptions to this rule), it seems as though either people are loaded and rolling, or lower-middle-class or poorer. A longstanding and controversial question amongst Moroccan sociologists remains: is there a Moroccan middle class? If so, who are they, and how do we define middle class? If not, how should we go about creating one?

All this and more, when Katie returns to Social Issues, sometime in the future. And now, for something completely different!

I’m starting a new series in this blog, just like Gender Talk, except this one is about Art, and it’s called Art Talk.

Art Talk, Part I!

Welcome to Art Talk, where self-consciousness comes to DIE!!!!!

(Stroke mustache, educated flim-flam flobble wobble. Imagine me wearing a monocle.)

(wait a minute)



Let’s talk about Art! For the longest time, the only piece of original music I’d show anyone would be a sanitary final draft, after lots of takes and edits, with layers of stuff on top of layers of stuff, and it would all be very self-conscious and excuse-ridden. NO MORE, I SAY, declares Captain First Draft, NO MORE!!!!

This is something I Thought a little while ago: thoughts don’t have to be profound, and art doesn’t have to be good. All too often we try to show off only the flawless and seemingly effortless final version of whatever it is we’ve created, whether it’s Art or Writing or LookAtMyGreatPersonality or whatever. What about a celebration of bad art? Of works in progress? What about the pursuance of lower-case art, without getting caught up in all that guilt and self-consciousness?  The rough draft exhibits the raw creative energy we put into creating the song in the first place; who would want to lose that?

Now, when I make silly videos of me singing: instead of trying to sing perfectly, I just decided to sing happily, sing like I’m super glad to be singing, sing honestly, and (most of all) be excited for people to see it, flaws, awesomeness, all the above. So, due to overwhelming popular request (one person), I think it’s time for another video of me sinnnngiiiinnnngggggg!!!!!!


EDIT: the first video I uploaded was the wrong one, hahaha. It is still included below, because that’s hilarious. I’m uploading the right one right now, but it’s taking forreeeevvvverrrrrr.

EDIT 2: Okay, here’s the right video, lulzipoops!

…and THIS is me telling off Photo Booth for being dumb and not wanting to record audio.

Z’bdah has ruined me! RUINED!



This Post is for Joe and Ernie!



Okay. First of all, Ernie. The butter. The butter here. I can’t even call it butter but it IS. In my head there’s z’bdah, Moroccan butter, and there’s butter, our butter. Remember that time I thought oliveoilbuttersubstitute was butter, and you were all like wtf mate das not buttah and I was all like oh I’m dumb? Consider me schooled. Consider me ruined. This BUTTER IS RIDICULOUS. Imagine butter but richer and thicker and more intense butter than any butter ever. I wonder if I can mail you some. It’s so thick that it’ll stay in your mouth for hours and hours after eating it, so rich that you need barely any at all to have a butter-splosion on your bread. Z’BDAH. HOLY CRAP.

OKAY Y’ALL. This blog is also meant to push me out of my normal behaviors, outside of comfort zone, break my habits, lalala. (ooh, yay, personal development AND cultural awareness! What a spiritually fulfilling blog to read. This should be a movie.) I’m unreliable with stuff like blogs. Writing every day, posting regularly, not censoring myself, and the following video are all very anti-me things to do—which is precisely why I’m doing them. WOOOO!

I’ve never done a video thingy like this before, and it feels pretty weird putting it up on the internet. It’s all public and stuff. I don’t like that there’s a video of ME on my blog, it makes me feel like an egomaniac, blah blah blah, so I’m going to upload it now. Feel free to comment about how wonderful I am. Jk. lulz.

But anyway, Joe & Ernie, I thought of you guys today, and the last time we all hung out and had a big ol’ play music party—and decided that we CAN still have play-music parties despite being so far away. OUAIS! So I made a video thingy. It took a couple tries because my computer didn’t feel like recording audio, but IT WORKED EVENTUALLY! MEZIEN!

Everyone else, this is a poem that Ernie wrote and Joe set to music; you can find the poem here!