Mozart Symphony No. 40, with a Lebanese twist

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Last Wednesday, on a rainy Dallas afternoon, my wife and I had gotten our son loaded into his dorm room, he'd finished his music theory and musicianship placement exam and was feeling good about it (we later learned that he tested out of first semester), and the three of us were enjoying a delicious lunch of falafel, gyros, stuffed grape leaves, and lentil soup at a little Mediterranean cafe off campus (Food from Galilee) when we heard this coming out of the speakers -- an Arabic adaptation of the famous opening to Mozart's Symphony No. 40. It's a good fit.

The singer is a famous Lebanese chanteuse called Fairuz, and the song is called "Ya Ana, Ya Ana." Here are the lyrics in Arabic, transliterated into Roman letters, and translated into English.

While looking for what we heard in the cafe, I found this, a solo guitar adaptation of that famous Mozart melody. You could imagine Dick Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, whose distinctive style was shaped by his Lebanese heritage, playing it like this.

(Fairuz video found in this collection of Mozart Symphony No. 40 cover versions.)

MORE: David Rollo recommends the Swingle Singers version -- a very faithful adaptation featuring eight a capella voices:

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 22, 2016 12:34 PM.

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