Brodas Bros bring the streets of Barcelona to Amman

Yesterday at the KHCC in Ras-el-Ein, the Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy of Amman presented the Brodas Bros, a Catalan Hiphop dance group (Facebook). And they were AWESOME. I had my reservations before going to the show, I’m not a fan of urban dancing in particular, but the Brodas are a lot more than that. Sitting through that show for an hour and a half, it cannot be described with any other word than complete.
I was very impressed by how they  used the entire medium available at the theater, whether it’s the space available, the sounds, the lighting. It was a feast for the senses. My favorite part of the show was when they shut all the lights, and performed with flashlights in their hands, it just seemed surreal, as they danced on the roof of the theater with their shadows, and that was just the most brilliant moment of a very brilliant show.

Brodas Bros Rock!
Brodas Bros Rock!

The dancing itself was great, some of the best urban dancing I’ve seen, and the styles were just so varied that I wish I was a hip-hop expert so I can name them all. They played their own music, with drums, a saxophone, a flute, and beatbox, and they also had some recorded stuff. Every dance number had a theme that they’ve explored, such as alcoholism, sexuality and such, but it wasn’t at all very serious, they weren’t afraid of using humour, particularly using their dexterity with dancing.

In the end, I have to applaud their energy, because the show started strong, stayed strong throughout, and it finished strong. The group made everybody in the stage get up, and jump, as they played their last number. And here comes the best part, they exited through the main doors of the theater and waited for everybody else to follow them outside, where they talked to the people. It was amazing to see that no matter how professional the show was, that they were true to their roots as a street group. They even found a group of Jordanian urban dancers and made a makeshift dance circle in the lobby. I applaud them highly for making last night simply unforgettable.

If you’ve missed the show, here is a video from their Vimeo page.


5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire a Social Media Agency for

If you did a double-take when you first read the title, then you’re one of the people that know that I recently got hired at a social media agency. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was interested in applying at a company like Prodigi is that I never got the idea behind it, so what better way to learn than putting myself dab right in the middle of one? And I love it. I now know that there are hundreds of reasons why a company might want to outsource its social media efforts, but I want to highlight today five reasons that aren’t.

1) You don’t “get” Social Media

A local saying in Jordan goes “Leave the bread to the baker”. Social media is a young science, if it can be called that. For young to mid-sized companies, it’s best defined as the missing link between marketing and sales that everybody has been looking for. It is also a very effective branding tool. I always thought that it should be an integral part of any company’s structure in order for it to be effective at all, but more on that later.

The bottom-line is, if you don’t know why you need social media, you probably don’t. The downsides of having a bad or no social media strategy outweigh the benefits of simply having a social media presence. If you’re a strategy setter wherever you are, make sure you try and “get” social media and what it means to your business and brand, before you embark on any social media effort.

2) It’s cheaper to outsource

You probably don’t afford to have a dedicated social media department in your company, or thought you could cut some corners by simply outsourcing it. Sure, that might seem like a good reason to outsource, but how cheap can you go? It takes a lot of effort and time to run social media campaigns, and if you couldn’t afford to do it on your own, don’t expect that a social media agency can do the same exact thing for much cheaper. You will always get what you pay for, so keep that in mind when picking an agency or deciding to do it in-house.

3) It worked for competitor X

If you honestly don’t see why you need social media, and you’re just giving in to peer pressure, then you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. You can’t really measure ROI and success in traditional ways with social media. Sure, there are lots of numbers, and many PR and social media agencies won’t hesitate to show you these numbers, but these numbers can often more delude than inform. You can spend years playing catch-up in fan numbers with your competitors, but is that really what you need?

Having a highly loyal, and highly authentic online following is priceless, and they’re also things that you really can’t measure easily, especially from the outside. Try to focus on making it work for you, and if you’re doing good, stop worrying about competition. Just keep that in mind before deciding to outsource or not, and who to outsource to.

4) You’ve tried social media and failed

Again, this is very similar to the first reason. Before deciding to hire a social media agency, or even starting a department of your own, you really have to see how well they integrate into the existing structures in your company. Your social media channels can be the cherry on top of a comprehensive marketing campaign, and they could also be the spark of a huge sale, so make sure that whoever is handling your social media is both trained, and briefed on when to take over from your marketing team, and who they can handover in your sales team, and how to identify those opportunities.

5) I Just want a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

With social media brands have something they’ve never had before. Your target demographic are having a big party, inviting their friends, and you’re invited. Don’t mess it up. You have to decide how you want your brand to be represented. You don’t want to be the guy going around saying, “Be my friend. Why do you like them more than you like me? They suck!”.

You can be a broadcaster, with a whole crowd of people around you listening to what you say, or the engager, talking to everyone and switching from conversation to conversation, or you can even be the guy who lurks and listens, only talking when he’s talked to. There is no right answer for everyone, just make sure that it’s you making that choice as part of your overall strategy, and any really good agency should be flexible enough to give you that.

Don’t take this article as a general warning against Social Media agencies, just make sure that when you decide to outsource, that you pick a company that “gets” Social Media right.

Wardi and Aziz are gonna rock Amman this October

Tarakiyee is happy. Friday the 28th of October will be biggest event in Amman ever this month, and that’s including Halloween. Just check out the websites for Bands Across Borders. It might be no secret that I’m a Wardi fan boy, so that for me would have been enough, but adding Aziz and Razz to the mix and that’s enough to make any Ammani weep in joy. If you love the chaos and the ruggedness of Amman, or if you’re just a fan of good music in general, you just can’t miss this concert.

Now, to be fair, I’m a little worried. The Facebook Page states:

“The show will be as if you are attending a theater play with dynamics and serious emotional impact in addition to interactive lighting and video clips.”

I’ve never ever seen a local act like this, and if they pull it off it would be the most awesome thing ever. I’m hoping this would be the start of a new age in the Ammani music scene, where we move away from the coarseness and start adding some flair into the shows. There is a lot of amazing local talent, but until now I’ve never really enjoyed listening to a band live. Time for the bands to spend less time practicing in their garages, and more time practicing on a stage.

All in all, this event is proving to be very unmissable, you absolutely need to be at Cultural Palace on the 28th of this month. Reserve your tickets now, you can find more details on the website, or you can try your luck and see if you can win a free ticket through their Facebook page.

Bye Bye Jadal

After disappearing for the good part of two years, the Jordanian indie band Jadal came back with a new single and video. Now I wish they could go back into whatever they were doing because they have to be much better at that than in music. The entire appeal of Jadal when they first started was in the originality and authenticity in their lyrics, and the simple riffs that  go along with that. No matter what anybody would say, they’re a good local pop rock band that many people liked, particularly their song Salma. Now they’ve went from that to this.

Somebody has been listening to a lot of Muse. My first impression was when I first opened the tab was what the hell is happening to my ears? It’s just bloody annoying noise most of the time, the song has lots of complicated signatures that I’m afraid to say that Jadal are just not good enough musicians to play, let alone write, just check out the little guitar break down thing at 1:40. The song is so full of harmonies, sounds, and miscellaneous shit playing the background all of the time that I bet I can take this one crappy song and make three decent songs out it. Moreover, the main melody is just way too overused.

The lyrics makes me want to vomit. It sounds like they were written by a ADD afflicted chimpanzee jumping on a typewriter. In fact, they make the lyrics from Akher Zafeer seem Pinkfloydian. I don’t need to comment on the music video, assuming you the reader have watched it already then you’ve suffered enough. Please Jadal, for the sake of anybody who might listen to this song in the future, stop making music. Or go back to the simple, authentic Amman-flavored rock that we’ve all liked.

Wardi most popular Indie Musician in Jordan

Alaa Wardi, the once Amman-based indie musician, is the most popular Musician in Jordan on Youtube, with 18,400+ people subscribing to them, beating people like Autostrad and DJ Flava. He’s also third place overall in Jordan, beaten only by Kharabeesh (a local web cartoon studio) and her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdallah.

I’ll leave you with his latest work.  Take a moment and click here, and press suscribe. =D

(Still) Living our Childhood – Alaa Wardi

I just can’t write words that describe this. Watch first.

Alaa Wardi just keeps stumping me with amazing new songs that make me want to become a better writer so I can do them justice with words. In this new single, titled “6ofoletna 3aysheen” or “(Still) Living our Childhood”, he mixes a mesmerizing guitar lullaby with a multitude of harmonies, which is what he does best. When he’s busy singing, he uses his versatility in instruments to fill in the song with what I can only describe as pure musical joy. His voice on the other hand, and the lyrics, express the sad yet proud emotions of a kid just coming out of his shell, defending his individuality. It all blends in together to give a sweet melancholic and nostalgic feel to the song.

To be fair, I felt like the song should end like 40 seconds earlier, the ending is just too long. But overall, it’s an amazing track. I’m going to do you a favor and give you this link that keeps repeating the song.

El La7n 7azeen men Awalo

Whether you agree with my review or not, you should most definitely check out Akher Zapheer’s music video “Akherto La7n 7azeen”. It’s not everyday that a Jordanian indie band makes a new video, and it’s definitely worth a look. Review after the video.

I’ll start with the good and leave the bad till the end, because that would be jumping on the bandwagon and then pushing everybody out. First of all, I love the music video. It’s very pretty and it will grab your attention, very high production values, and actually tells a story. The music is quite repetitive, but in a good way. It’s a very hum-able melody.

Now for the bad bits. The lyrics are wtf-inducing. The best thing about the music video is that it distracts you from the actual words being said. They sound like a 12 year old’s first attempt at poetry. They do not tell a story, they invented a bizarre scene where everything they describe fits into the melody. I can’t see anyone walking down the street singing, “وسوق فيي شوي شوي عليمين، ولعواميد علشوباك بتتوالا”

If you don’t believe lyrics sound forced, I dare you to say the word “Btetwalla” tomorrow in a normal conversation. =D

Music-wise, I don’t really have much to say, but the song wasn’t in my opinion of the same quality as the video, something sounded slightly off-putting. There’s a double clap sound I totally OCDed over; I couldn’t stand it at all. You can also very easily forget that this song has a guitar solo.

All in all, today’s a good day for the Jordanian indie scene (if it exists). This song won’t be on my playlist, but it made me really excited about hearing other stuff they might make in the future.