Nour Project adds a twist to Pharrell Williams 'Happy': VIDEO

Ahram Online, Monday 6 Oct 2014

Nour Project featuring Ahmed Abou El-Yazid revisits Pharrell Williams' 'Happy', challenging the optimism of the original lyrics

Nour Project featuring Zizo
Nour Project featuring Zizo in Pharrell Williams 'Happy' (Photo: still from the video clip)

"The happiness is in the air, but we do not see it. Tomorrow will be better and we will still see the best years."

These opening lines, sung by Ahmed Abou El-Yazid (known as Zizo), come from a new take on Pharrell Williams megahit Happy.

The new version, a collaboration between Zizo and saxophonist Nour Ashour's instrumental band the Nour Project, was released on YouTube on 4 October, and has so far been viewed over 500 times.

The Nour Project version intertwines William's original lyrics with large segments in Arabic which tell a more complicated story than the original's simple invocation of joy.  

"Although the general circumstances make it hard for one to be happy, I'm laughing, jumping, dancing and singing out loud," Zizo sings.

Following Williams' original track, the Nour Project adds occasional rhythms on the tabla which become more evident by the end of the track.

The Arabic lyrics were written by Ashour, who also plays saxophone in the song. The song was produced by Gamal Fahim, with mixing and recording in Vibe studio.

Released in 2013 as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, Williams' song inspired hundreds of fans to create their own visuals to accompany the hit single. 

Happy spawned videos from countries across the globe, including from fans in Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Yemen, Tunisia, Palestine, and Jordan.

An Egyptian 'Happy' video posted by user Disalata reached 1.2 million views on YouTube.


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