‘Howdy you’: Joint Israeli-UAE tune turns into a YouTube hit

The scene cuts from Dubai to Tel Aviv, the lyrics change from Arabic to Hebrew to English and the tune is a barely kitsch electro-pop duet by artists who, for now, stay aside.

The normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has produced its first musical collaboration: “Ahlan Bik,” or “Howdy you” in Arabic.


“This can be a historic second,” mentioned Israeli singer Elkana Marziano, whose duet with Emirati artist Walid Aljasim has clocked greater than 1.1 million YouTube views because it was posted on September 30.

Marziano, 28, is a former winner of Israel’s model of The Voice, a singing competitors TV present, and an Arabic speaker influenced by the Mizrahi tradition of Jews from the Arab world.


He informed AFP that he and Aljasim had collaborated over the Zoom video-conferencing service, with some elements of the tune recorded in Dubai and others in Israel.

“The understanding was fast,” Marziano mentioned of the partnership.

One on-line commentator, who posted below the title Shaked Sharon, mentioned: “With this tune, you’re feeling the brand new Center East.”


In August, Israel and the UAE introduced that that they had reached a US-brokered deal to normalize ties, following years of discreet financial and safety cooperation.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, authorized the UAE deal on Thursday.

Bahrain finally joined the pact often called the Abraham Accords signed on the White Home final month, making it and the UAE the third and fourth Arab states to determine full diplomatic ties with Israel.


Israel signed a peace settlement with neighboring Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted that the Gulf offers spotlight shifting priorities within the area. The suitable-winger has insisted that extra Arab states need ties with Israel regardless that its battle with the Palestinians stays unresolved.

The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has mentioned the pact “opens the way in which to a brand new period of cooperation.”


Palestinian leaders have condemned the offers and known as on the Arab world to withhold establishing ties with Israel till it reaches a viable peace with the Palestinians.

Whereas some YouTube commenters have celebrated “Ahlan Bik,” others have condemned the tune and Israeli-Emirati normalization, whereas calling for the creation of a Palestinian state.


Israeli singer Elkana Marziano, 28, sings together with a video clip of a tune on which he labored in collaboration with Emirati artist Walid Aljasim (not in image), throughout an interview with AFP at his residence within the central Israeli metropolis of Giv’at Shmuel, on October 15, 2020. (Picture by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Dwell live performance

The tune was written by Doron Medalie, who additionally wrote Netta Barzilai’s “Toy,” which gained the 2018 Eurovision contest for Israel.


The refrain — “I hear you pal far-off, far-off” — is repeated within the three languages, whereas the music video’s motion pivots from Marziano dancing with mates in Israel to Aljasim in Dubai.

Marziano mentioned that peace was a standard theme in Israeli music, which has commonly been in battle with its neighbors and below fixed risk of assault since its founding in 1948.

He mentioned it was a “private victory” to see younger Israelis and Emiratis interacting on-line to debate the tune on his YouTube web page, including that he’s planning a dwell live performance with Aljasim when the coronavirus pandemic ends.


“I’m very moved by the thought of singing this tune, and others, on the identical stage (with Aljasim),” Marziano informed AFP.

Occasions of Israel employees contributed to this report.