Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord


Kareem Salama: (Muslim) Rock At Its Finest

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful

“Hesham’s iPod” is an occasional post about what’s hot, what’s spiritual, and what’s buzzworthy in Muslim music, and about the nature of Muslim artists.

20110715-034420.jpg

Every once in a while, a popular musical group comes out with a heartfelt song full of wonderful, inspiring messages. One such example is “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas. When I hear songs like this, I think to myself: Why don’t more musicians sing more songs like this? Well, folks, we have such a musician: American (Muslim) country singer Kareem Salama.

I have been a fan of Kareem Salama ever since he burst on the scene a few years ago. His first album, Generous Peace, was great, with many wonderful, heartfelt tracks. My absolute favorite on that album is “Lady Mary,” which is about the Virgin Mary. It almost always makes me cry. Salama’s newest album, “City of Lights,” is even better.

This album is intended to be much more “mainstream” than “country,” so to speak, and it is. That is especially true for the first track, “Makes Me Crazy.” But what strikes me most about this album is the varied subject matter of his songs, and how each of them is truly uplifting and spiritually fulfilling. Take this line from the track “Heavenly Dreams”:

Some of us do believe/God gave us heavenly dreams

Those two lines of verse are so profound that I can write so much about it (which I plan to do). The love songs on his album – “We Could Be Friends,” “Beat In My Heart,” and others – are so pure and meaningful. Salama proves that one can sing about love and not have to go after our base nature. That is one of his strongest suits.

Yet, hands down, the runaway hit on this album is the rock re-make of “Baby, I’m a Soldier.” He originally released the song on his first album and that version was very nice. But this version is AWESOME.

The song is about war and the experience of soldiers. It tells the amazing story of two soldiers on either side of a conflict, and the amazing thing that happens when they meet each other in battle. It is such an uplifting story, and everyone – especially our elected leaders – should listen to this song and learn from its many lessons (I will write about this one, too).

The bridge of this song is fantastic: he keeps the listener on edge, endlessly wondering about what thing “shocked” both soldiers. While waiting for the answer, the listener is treated with the best bit of electric guitar I have ever heard. It moves me so much, and I have listened to this specific part of the song over and over again without tiring. I was never really a rock/country fan, but Kareem Salama has made me a convert. Moreover, he is blazing the trail of (Muslim) rock/country, and I am forever grateful for it.

If you haven’t already noticed, I placed the word “Muslim” in parenthesis because, the fact that he is Muslim is wholly parenthetical. If you listen to the album without knowing the name of the singer, you would think it is an average rock/country album. The fact that Kareem is Muslim is irrelevant. I actually performed this “experiment,” if you will, with my neighbor, and he was shocked when I told him the singer is Muslim.

But that is the whole point: one can sing “Muslim rock” without once saying “Allah,” or “Islam,” or “Muhammad.” What I love most about Kareem Salama’s work is that he is not a singer who says “Allah” in a cowboy hat. He infuses his music with Islamic themes and spirituality, and the listener does not know it. And that is also the whole point: Islamic themes are universal and in common with the themes of all faiths and traditions, and Kareem weaves them in masterfully.

I will say again what I said with Muslim hip-hop group Native Deen: Go get this album. You will not regret it.

 



  • http://blackeyedpeas,antimuslimsongs talib hussain

    They dont want music feat james brown…. listen to the lyrics. its talking about Muslims. who are the people being referred to as “all they listen to is boom boom boom” (duf)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Haime52

    Somewhere along the way, a long, long time ago, brotherhood, under God, has been lost. Who are we willing to die for? Most would say for God, naturally, other for country, but how many, for their enemy? To save the life of a brother or sister, even though they believe in a different belief system, this is true love and what God wants of His children. To love one another without condition!

    Hopefully music can bridge what politics and mutual distrust cannot.
    Peace be to you all.

Previous Posts

Nothing "Islamic" About ISIS, Part Two: What the "Jizya" Really Means
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord Last time, we began the conversation about how ISIS and its actions are hardly "Islamic." Now, we will delve, a little, into the issue of this "tax" that the barbarians of ISIS demanded be paid by Iraqi Christians, called

posted 11:00:06pm Aug. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Think Muslims Haven't Condemned ISIS? Think Again
In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Lord A very common, oft-repeated mantra among pundits and "experts" is that Muslims haven't roundly condemned the extremism committed in Islam's name. So many times, we hear people saying, "Where are the Muslim voices in condemnation?"

posted 1:33:45pm Aug. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Nothing "Islamic" About ISIS: How Those Barbarians Defame Islam
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Compassionate and Merciful Lord That I condemn ISIS with every cell of my body goes without saying. Their barbarism knows no bounds, and I pray that the Lord brings to an end their reign of terror and inhumanity. The murder of American photojournalist James Fole

posted 3:20:55pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer For Peace In The Holy Land
In The Name Of God: The Infinitely Merciful And Compassionate Beloved Lord It has been heartbreaking to see conflict emerge - yet again - in the Holy Land over the last several weeks. Children being murdered: shot to death and burned alive. Rockets being fired at civilians, and bombs being droppe

posted 10:46:52pm Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Ramadan And The World Cup: There Ought To Be No Controversy At All
In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord Although the number of Muslim football players participating in this year's FIFA World Cup has dwindled considerably, there are still a number of players who are slated to play this weekend in the Quarterfinal matches. A n

posted 10:52:04am Jul. 03, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.