IPod

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

diff 11-6-11iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle. iPod Classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued Mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive). As with many other digital music players, iPods can also serve as external data storage devices. Storage capacity varies by model, ranging from 2 GB for the iPod Shuffle to 160 GB for the iPod Classic. The iPod line was announced by Apple on October 23, 2001, and released on November 10, 2001. All of the models have been redesigned multiple times since their introduction. The most recent iPod redesigns were introduced on September 1, 2010.

Apple’s iTunes software can be used to transfer music to the devices from computers using certain versions of Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems. For users who choose not to use iTunes or whose computers cannot run iTunes, several open source alternatives are available for the iPod. iTunes and its alternatives may also transfer photos, videos, games, contact information, e-mail settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars to iPod models supporting those features.

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Vinyl Records

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

science 08-29-11A gramophone record (also phonograph record, or simply record) is a sound recording medium, a flat disc with an inscribed modulated spiral groove. Gramophone records were the primary technology used for personal music reproduction for most of the 20th century. They replaced the phonograph cylinder in the 1900s, and although they were supplanted in popularity in the late 1980s by digital media, they continue to be manufactured and sold as of 2006.

There are three types of vinyl records. The 78 rpm record is the earliest form. The 78 rpm discs were 12 inches and only contained music on one side, while the other side was blank. The 78 rpm eventually was released as a 10-inch double sided disk in the 1930’s-1940’s. The 45 rpm followed the 78 rpm, as they were smaller and more economical to produce. Finally, the 33 rpm record was released with much higher quality audio than the previous records.

The time line of the life of the vinyl record begins as far back as 1806. Developments were made around the world from this time throughout 2001. In 1877 Thomas Edison made history by being the first to record and playback sound. Edison’s genius made way for inventors, such as Emile Berliner, Chichester Bell and Charles Tainter, to perfect the craft throughout the late 1800’s leading to the eventual creation of the first vinyl record player.

A vinyl record is made in four stages. First, a master disc is created. This master disc must be an aluminum flat disc with smooth and polished edges. Next, the master disc is cut. A lathe is used to create grooves in the disc during this stage. The third stage is the vinyl stamper. The disc is bathed in a variety of chemicals and finished off with a trim so it is exactly 12 inches in diameter. The final step is the finished vinyl record. A press is used on the disc at 190 degrees Celsius to mold the vinyl disc.

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Interview: Omar Offendum, Bilingual MC/Producer

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Siddiq Ather

Omar Chakaki, better known by the name Omar Offendum, is Syrian American emcee and producer who was born in Saudi Arabia but was raised in the United States. He raps in both English and Arabic comfortably about a vast range of issues and ideas. He has been featured on BBC, ABC news, Aljazeera, and other news sources. His most recent album is titled SyrianamericanA. He has performed around the world with a variety of famous artists. Occasionally, he starts his performances with an Arabic rendition of a work by the poet Langston Hughes

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1. Do Hip Hop and Islam fit well with each other, or is there a clash?

I never saw a clash between the two. In Islam innamal a’amaalu biniyaat, actions are based on intentions. So if you have good intentions to affect positive change through Hip Hop, another art form, or whatever, then, I believe insha’allah, it is compatible. If you have intentions of spread negativity, promiscuity, or misogyny etc, then, obviously, that is not compatible.
I understand there is a scholarly debate as far as music in Islam. I tend to fall in line with those do not believe it is haraam, citing the importance of intentions. If it doesn’t distract you from the demands of the Muslim faith, like praying, then, there isn’t anything wrong with it, especially if it is positive. I understand that it does distract a lot of people, and Hip Hop in particular can be a tool to spread negativity. But it’s a tool like anything else, so it’s how you use it.

I know a lot of spoken word artists, and I don’t see how you could ever say something like that is haraam.  At times I perform without music. I have been at events were people are uncomfortable with music, so I performed without it. I’m sensitive to that. I take time with my lyrics and make sure it is something I can do with or without music. That’s where I kind of stand on it.
Some people may say kaafir, haraam, judge, and use apocalyptic language after they hear a Muslim performing with music, but I question the intentions of those people. In the end of the day, there are haters out there and haters gon’ hate. I do this with positive intentions Insha’Allah.

2. There are a lot of Muslim performers: emcees, poets, rappers, singers, b-girls, beat boxers, and others. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon? As far as Muslim culture, and Arab culture, goes, there is a hesitation and apprehension surrounding even the idea of Muslim females on stage.

Well, I think it is a beautiful thing, and I encourage it, especially if they’re doing it positively. I welcome it, I embrace it, and I hope to see more of it because they’re inspiring to other women who think there is something wrong with that, when I, personally, don’t think there is.  Many good friends of mine are Muslim female Emcees. The best example that comes to mind is Poetic Pilgrimage: two very confident sisters from the UK of African-Caribbean decent.  They wear hijab and practice Islam to the best of their ability, and you can see it reflected in their lyrics. I think what they’re doing is very positive, and I encourage it.

As far as Arab culture, Shaadia Mansour, she is not Muslim; she’s Arab, but faces similar sentiment. Our community looks down on woman who are on stage, performing. In my opinion her heart is in the right place and has the best intentions. I think, especially with her, as far as the Palestinian cause is concerned, she’s such an important voice to put out there; it’s a different faith for the world to see, that it’s not just a bunch of angry men that are rapping about something. It really changes the dynamic.

3. A lot of your lyrics carry a heavy weight, since they have some political or historical background. Do you think music and lyrics have to have something behind them, some motive, or can it just be open expression?

I think it has to be honest self expression at the end of the day. In hip-hop we have the saying “keepin’ it real.” If you’re not “keepin’ it real”; If you’re not being true to yourself, true to your history, true to your background, then, I, personally, am not that into it. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be political, it can be anything. If you’re skillful with your art, I have to respect that.  I don’t go out of my way to be political. We live in a politicized world. Being a young Arab American Muslim, it happens to affect me deeply, and so I speak about it. I also used to translate Arabic poetry to English and English poetry to Arabic. That is a more relevant to my experience.

4.  How much of a difference can hip hop make without actual political change, or do you think this is the medium through which political change can occur?

I think it is a tool. It can spark dialogue, debate and awareness about issues in communities where there is none: locally, nationally, and internationally. When an artist is as successful as Lupe Fiasco (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) says what he said about Gaza getting bombed in a particular song, it is a really really big deal. That album sold hundreds of thousands in the first week. It is extremely important. However, it is not going to stop the bombing in Gaza. No, it’s not going to fix the issue. In my case, I see the medium as the message. People see a young Muslim American Arab rapping on stage, comfortable in both languages. There’s a lot behind that, that I don’t’ even need to say. They can infer from it.

5. There are a variety of sheikhs out there, maybe you’ve heard names like Suhaib Webb and Hamza Yusuf. There are also many books, so are there any inspirational books you’ve read or scholars you really look up to?

I have actually met Sheikh Suhaib several times. He’s a great inspiration, masha’allah. I grew into my Muslim American Identity. I went to an Islamic School growing up, it was a Saudi Islamic School based in Alexandria, Virginia, mostly set up for students with family back in the Middle East who worked in the embassy. We had the Saudi Arabian curriculum coupled with the local county curriculum. It essentially for people intending to move back to the Middle East, and so they didn’t really establish the Muslim-American identity, and that was something that took me years to understand and really, kind of, be at peace with.

Hearing people like Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, and Zaid Shakir speak are very inspirational to me. Sheikh Yassir Fazaga is also from southern California. I really, really, really enjoy his khutbahs. Some of the most inspirational one I have ever heard were from him. But Islam aside, reading books by authors like Edward Said, and novels by men like Amin Maalouf have greatly influenced me. Also included are emcees and reggae singers of all sorts. A number of old Arabic singers and poets: Khalil jibran, and darwish. All of this influences me, and I think you can see it in my music because I try to make it an honest reflection of me.

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“Mideast Tunes” Jams for Change

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

“We work against repression, discrimination and persecution” ~ Mideast Youth

guitarsIt’s no secret that the recent “Arab Awakening”, which has already toppled a couple of Middle East governments and sent others into a tailspin, could never have reached such epic proportions as it has without the Internet and specifically social media outlets. Countless numbers of protests and mass amounts of information have been catapulted into the global arena, courtesy of bloggers and social media activists. The power of the Internet has proven to be a force to be reckoned with–much to the chagrin of governments seeking to quash its effect. For the youth, in particular, social media is not only an excellent way to share information but it is also a vital way to cope with the anger and frustration that comes as a direct result of the political upheaval.

Most youths in the Middle East have to deal with political turmoil from the time they are born and many, unfortunately, will have to grapple with it right up until their deaths. For this reason many youths turns to different forms of self-expression, such as art or music, to cope.  Some politically active youths have taken to the underground to create unique music stylings that would be unwelcome, and in many cases illegal, in the mainstream media of their specific country. For years, the underground politically “amp-ed” music scene of the Middle East was one that was rarely seen and even less heard. But thanks to MidEast Youth, which is a grassroots cyber social activism network based in the Middle East, more and more youths have a welcome platform to share their politically-inspired music with the world.

In 2010 Mideast Youth launched Mideast Tunes, which is an online cyber stage that showcases the musical talents of various underground solo artists and bands in the Middle East. According to the mission statement on its website, “Mideast Tunes is dedicated to providing a platform for emerging musicians in the Middle East. Our aim is to encourage, inspire and expose talented young artists across the region.” The genres featured on the site range from heavy metal to hip-hop and everything in between. Some of the current artists featured include ‘Sop’ which is a hip-hop band based in Palestine and ‘Disturb the Balance’ which is an alternative rock band based in Saudi Arabia. The tunes may be different but all of the artists featured on Mideast Tunes share the same plight to create viable and positive social change with their music.

The website does not charge users or bands a fee for features to ensure that everyone has the freedom share their voice. However, it does rely heavily on donations to keep it up and running.

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The Divine Language of Music

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, MMNS

Ann Arbor–December 15–Tuesday night there was an interfaith event designed to open common bonds of humanity through celebration of spiritual music.

Seven different performances of varying kinds were presented to an audience of about 250 people representing several different faiths at the combined syagogue and church–Temple Beth Emeth / St. Clare Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor.

The first performance of the evening was in Urdu, a song sung beautifully by Hera Abedi, called “Khuddi Ka Sir-e-nehan.”

After this there was choir music mixing Jewish songs with Christian ones, and with choir members from both  religious traditions in the choir of about 20 singers.

Then there was an adaptation of instrumental music designed to showcase the religious spirit of jazz performances of “Compassion” and “El is the Sound of Joy” by John Coltrane and Sun Ra, respectively.

There was a Hindu performance of very beautiful dancing.

Finally and most beautifully there was a beautiful recitation of the Shahada, Astaghfirullah, La ilaha illal Lah, Qasida Burdah, and beautiful English-language qasidas celebrating the Prophet Muhammad (s) by a group of Sufis demonstrating zikr, hadrah, and “whirling dervish” style whirling.

There was also a flute performance and a performance of Amazing Grace.

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Don’t Relax Your Islam

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

“O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe see you from a position where ye cannot see them. We made the Satans friends (only to those without faith.” 7:27

One of the pitfalls of the glitz and glamour of the modern world is it has a very strong magnetic effect on the young (and sometimes not-so-young). Much of the TV, movies, and music we experience today have messages that downplay good healthy wholesome living.
Sometimes when I haven’t seen a person at the masjid in a long time, I will run into them at a festival, parade, ball game, golf course, or some other recreational outlet. And many times when I see them they will be with a non-Muslim companion and not dressed exactly as they were the last time I saw them at the mosque. This is much more common in the African-America community, because assimilation in the local culture is much easier than it is for immigrant Muslims.
Many of our young people, indigenous and immigrant, feel that Islam and living an Islamic life means you can’t have fun. They feel that Islam is too restrictive and prevents you from living a full life. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. And I’m not speaking from the perspective of an older person. I’m speaking from the perspective of the Qur’an.
ALLAH only forbids us those things that are harmful to ourselves and/or the society. A few examples of what I mean:
We are forbidden to eat pork and other unclean meats. This is self explanatory if you think about it. Pork is known to cause high blood pressure and clogged arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It also harbors worms.
Adultery and fornication cause breakups in the family, which ultimately weaken the society. Alcohol and intoxicants cause warped and unstable thinking. Gambling leads to lying and theft after the inevitable losses you will incur.
These are a few of the prohibited things. There are many more activities that are permitted by ALLAH. You don’t need to stay away from the masjid to go to a movie. Just try to see decent movies. If your culture allows you to listen to music, make sure that the music you choose is not the rotgut, vulgar stuff put out by Shaitan.
As an imam and counselor, I get great many people seeking help for problems that can, for the most part, be solved by regular attendance and participation at the masjid. When you are around Muslims, your behavior automatically is going to be more Islamic. You will be encouraged to pay the zakat and attend Friday prayers. We need each other. Steel sharpens steel and man sharpens man.
On the other hand, we must be constantly aware of the presence and plan of Satan and know that “he can watch you while you are unaware.” When you are around non-Muslims, your behavior will likely be like those you are around. You will “relax” into an inferior culture, which will bring you down to a lower level.
Be Muslim ALL the time. Your life will be less stressful, more peaceful, and a greater asset to the community………And your Lord will be pleased with you.