Nina Cristante is an artist, autodidactic nutritionist, Aquarius and my best friend. Had it not been for a mutual friend linking us during her temporary stay in NYC seven months back, I may’ve never been introduced to the full spectrum of her work. Just a subtle trail of digital breadcrumbs. Slow-mo-promo. A whisper, a wink, a bikini body meme. A deliberately ambiguous website hosting austere at-home workout videos and fragments of clients’ food diaries.
I really wish I could just permanently blog about Iraqi music, it’s always on point. In this video, Hassan Hadi sings Aroosa, meaning “Bride.” The bride in question is at her dead husband’s grave, looking a little Matrix with her entourage. Hassan is coyly asking for a kiss with the permission of her dead man. Back up: Iraqis are an extremely melancholic people, and no amount of death references can faze them. They sing about death and love all the time in more ingenious ways than you could possibly imagine. My question is why is this bride captured in such an unflattering facial expression? She looks like she smelled Saddam’s zombie fart. And Hassan, his eyebrows, haircut, open fake polo shirt and soul patch are Levantine thug styling. Walk anywhere in the streets of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq or Jordan and you will encounter hordes of Hassans. It’s the look for men aged 20 to 40. Not to mention the location–I’m positive it’s Sweden (The Iraqi population is one of the largest ethnic minority groups currently residing in the country). The chorus travels on the refrain, “Oh bride, she’s wearing black. Oh bride, give me a kiss.” Um she’s a widow, dude. The song is sick and as with most Iraqi pop, the drums are like machine gun fire–very aptly heard at this romantic cemetery scene.