BEIRUT: Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ remains the most-requested song for the region’s oud players, a survey has found.
The survey – which quizzed musicians from over 500 Lebanese restaurants, nightclubs and desert safari experiences – confirmed that Hendrix’s explosive 1967 track has secured a place in the hearts of Arabs and expats alike.
“It’s a bitch to learn,” explained Saalim Abdulla, resident musician at popular Beirut eatery Fatoush!. “In fairness, it wasn’t really written for an acoustic, lute-like Middle Eastern instrument with twelve strings. But it always brings the house down. Families, couples, elderly bedouin tribesmen – everyone loves it.”
“We always request Hendrix’s psychedelic masterpiece when we come here,” added diner Mona Latif, 78. “My husband and I usually tear up and sing along.”
Second in popularity was the traditional arabian ballad Yallah Ya Habibi, followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird.