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Songs of Summer with UW FLAS Fellows (Part 3: Middle East)

September 17, 2018

My host family likes to play this song [“Ghazali“] on the TV every night and sing and dance along.” -Sydney Ward (Fez, Morocco)

In Summer 2018, University of Washington Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) fellows studied seventeen languages in eighteen different countries on four continents.  This is the third in a series of posts with songs contributed by FLAS fellows and which capture summer moments from across the world.  Click on the purple flags in the map for individual songs.  This post features Iran, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan.

Julia Chatterjee profile picture

Julia Chatterjee

Julia Chatterjee (MA Asian Languages & Literature, FLAS: Middle East, Persian) studied Persian at the University of Washington this summer.  She writes:

“Yaar-e-Jaani” is one of my favorite songs I’d learned during my summer of intensive Farsi. Our professor introduced us to the song, noting that the artist, Mohsen Namjoo, is well known for creating fusion music with traditional and folk Iranian melodies and more western rock and blues. The combination is wonderful and catchy! As songs are often harder to understand than speech, I clearly remember the feeling of amazement and pride at understanding one of the lines of this song: “ay yaar-e-jaani, dobare bar nemigardad digar javaani (Oh my dear one, youth will never again return).”

Be Ki Poz Midi” is a song by my favorite Iranian artist, whom I discovered before I’d even begun studying Farsi.  The vocals are beautifully resonant and the lyrics are at once recognizable for anyone who loves a good love ballad (translation here). While on a class trip to the Persian bakery in Kirkland, my professor turned on the Radio Javaan music station and to my surprise, this song began playing! Now, this song will always take me back to that class trip. Even though we hadn’t left Washington state, we got a little taste of Persian culture through Iranian radio and delicious naan-e-sangak (a type of Persian bread).


Sydney Ward, at a Spanish mosque overlooking the city of Chefchaouen, Morocco

Sydney Ward, at a Spanish mosque overlooking the city of Chefchaouen, Morocco

Sydney Ward (BA International Studies, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, FLAS: Global Studies, Arabic) writes from Fez, where she is studying at ALIF:

A popular song in Morocco this summer is “Ghazali” by Saad Lamjarred. This pop song is about love and meeting a beautiful woman. In the music video, the singer Saad meets a beautiful woman and falls in love with her at an extravagant party that he is hosting. This artist, Saad Lamjarred, is very popular in Morocco and every time he releases a new song, it hits the top charts. My host family likes to play this song on the TV every night and sing and dance along.  I also hear it on the radio when I take taxis around Fez.


Hannah Grossblatt (MA International Studies, FLAS: West Europe, Turkish) writes from Istanbul where she is studying Turkish at Boğaziçi University:

Yalnız Çiçek (The Lonely Flower)” is all over Turkey right now!  It’s actually a remake of a song from the 90’s.  Both versions have very interesting music videos!



Pablo Tutillo on ferry in Istanbul

Pablo Tutillo

Pablo Jairo Tutillo (MA Middle East Studies, FLAS: Middle East, Turkish) studied Turkish with Concept Languages in Istanbul this summer.  He writes:

It has been incredible to study in Istanbul this summer. Every day I take the metrobüs (a rapid transit bus) from the Anatolian side of the city to the European side where my language school is located. In the mornings, at the corner of the metrobüs station, I treat myself to a poğaça (a delicious baked bread with cheese) and portokal meyve suyu (orange juice) for my breakfast on-the-go.

As I have made my way around this metropolis on the vapur (ferry) or dolmuş (shared-minibus), I have heard many songs reflecting the eclectic music scene in Istanbul and Turkey. Below are some of this summer’s tunes and some of which are from years past. iyi eğlenceler ! Enjoy !


Henry Milander profile picture

Henry Milander

Henry Milander (BA Business, International Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, FLAS: West Europe, Arabic) first heard “Ya Lilli” by Balti when his Arabic teacher at the Qasid Institute played it while they were making food for a class dinner.   He’s heard it many times since then, filtering through his apartment window in Amman, as well as on the streets as cars drive by blasting it loudly.


FLAS Fellowships are funded by the International and Foreign Language Education Office of the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS fellowships support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in acquiring modern foreign languages and area or international studies competencies. Students from all UW departments and professional schools are encouraged to apply. Find out more about the FLAS Fellowship here.