I first heard about Alaa Wardi somewhere on the Internet… I can’t remember if it was over on Reddit’s a cappella subreddit, or perhaps the CASA Facebook page, but someone linked his video for “Shalamonti Fel7al” (below), and I quickly found the song stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I’m not sure how many times I hit the play button, but the video made its rounds through the ACR office, and the general consensus was that we had to sign this guy.
Alaa, a native of Iran, turns out to be a really awesome guy – multilingual (he sings in four different languages including Arabic and English), an excellent singer, guitarist, songwriter, arranger, and fan of ACR artist Peter Hollens! His videos also feature some of the most inventive backdrop-work in anything I’ve seen to date – from repurposed mattresses to sliced paper, anything is fair game, and Alaa does it with style.
One of the most remarkable things about Alaa Wardi is his use of body percussion rather than the vocal percussion techniques that have become near-ubiquitous in western convention. The slaps, snaps, and other sounds (check out his beard-scratches around the 2-minute-mark in Ma3gool!) lend a whole new dynamic to his sound, without violating the “golden rule” of A Cappella.
We’ve released an unprecedented 14 singles from Alaa Wardi (including one from his band, Hayajan), with the promise of more on the way! Although not all are released as part of the A Cappella Records label, each of them are brilliant blends of Western and Middle-Eastern artistry that will get you hitting ‘play’ over and over again.
Check out Alaa Wardi over on iTunes today.