Just as now there is a current boom in Arab streaming services, podcasts are also making it big in the Arab World. Their main appeal is that they are probably the only form of entertainment that you can have playing in the background while you go on with your day. You can wash your dishes while learning about the Algerian hero Lalla Fatma N’Soumer’s past or even hit the gym and try to hold in your laughter while listening to Arab Comedians poking fun at whatever comes to their mind.
Podcasts are becoming so popular that more and more genres and categories are popping up; from mental health to gardening to food. Each one is catered to a certain mood. The Scoop team thought it would be fun to pick out a collection of Arab podcasts that would be perfect when you’re feeling a certain way during the day.
When You’re Craving A Laugh
If you’re having a bad day and nothing is going as planned, sometimes having a little laugh can be just what you need to flip that switch and get that needed serotonin kick. Listening to Egyptian stand-up comedian, Mohammed Helmy’s podcast “So, My Dears” إذًا أعزائي” will give you that needed laugh. In each episode, he would pick a common activity loved by most Egyptians like heading to the North Coast during the summer or having a big gathering during Ramadan and would literally place them under a judgmental microscope. He would nitpick every little aspect of these practices that just don’t make sense.
Like for example, during Ramadan, Helmy would express his confusion at certain behaviors that would come to the surface only during that specific month. Like how when you would head to the supermarket while you’re fasting, your stomach will end up doing all the shopping for you. You’d end up struggling to reach the cashier from the mountain of groceries atop your shopping cart, regretting your decision later on. It’s these kind of quirks that Helmy loves to poke fun at and he does it in a hilarious, sarcastic way that you wouldn’t help cracking up throughout the episode. With an only 11-episode season, each one no more than 15 minutes, you can probably finish all your errands while listening in to his podcast.
When You Need A Reality Check
With the peak in oil prices and today’s current inflation, prices just keep going up. One can’t help but get frustrated at not being able to keep their finances in order. Egyptian host Omar Shams’ podcast “Kalam Yenawar” is an answer to that struggle. It’s considered the first Arab podcast to simplify concepts within the world of economy. He would pick out topics or activities related to money that he knows people struggle with. For example, when we go to the supermarket, we sometimes have the tendency to buy more than we may need. So, Shams provided a comprehensive multi-step guide on how to spend wisely in a supermarket. What was different about his approach is that he broke it into phases. There’s the “before you go to the supermarket” phase. Probably the most important step as it involves preparing the grocery list and going online, checking apps like Instashop to find out the prices of all the products before you even set foot into the supermarket.
He really does take a deep dive into every money-related topic you can think of from how to pursue a job in the financial sector to the dangers involved in investing in the stock market including the factors that lead to a decrease or increase in value of certain stocks. He has a wide library of topics totaling 70 episodes that you can tune into through platforms like Apple podcasts or Spotify.
When You’re Feeling Investigative
There are times when we just want answers. Our minds would be populated with questions that keep building up. When you are in that kind of mood, Kerning Culture’s Masafat might be just the right fix. Hosted by Hiba Afify, in each episode, we would follow Arab journalists from across the Middle East as they slowly unravel a story or question that they want to get answered.
Their main aim is to give listeners access to moments from Arab history that were overlooked. One of their most interesting episodes involved an investigation behind Palestine’s first radio program known as “Jerusalem Calling.” It began airing in 1936, a time when the country was under British Occupation. The journalists behind this story had an impossible task. They wanted to get a hold of one of the original radio hosts and only one was still alive. It was no easy task yet they were able to get ahold of their source. You can hear his voice as he recalls that distant time when that radio program was so special that prominent Arab musicians like Farid El Atrash would travel all the way to Palestine to be a guest on the radio show. In another episode, they focused on Egypt’s Maharaganat culture (a type of street music that has grown to popular acclaim). In that episode, they wanted to answer a question that may never have crossed the mind of any Egyptian “Why are there no female Maharagan singers?” and that was the spark for the rest of the investigation. It’s overall a unique and refreshing take on Arab history and culture that can help fill some gaps from the past.
When You Want To Feel Smart
Sometimes with the internet and the constant amount of information getting generated every day, it’s hard to keep up. It’s too much information and it can get overwhelming. If you ever feel like you want to slow things down and learn something new in a simple, easy-to-digest way, then YouTuber and host Ahmed Samir’s podcast “بودكاست علمي جدا” will do just that. He would take any complex topic like the composition of stars and explain it using relatable, everyday examples so listeners can easily take in the information. To explain how stars including the sun are the earth’s source of energy, he gave the example of a cup of coffee. A typical cup of coffee is made from ground-up coffee beans and the beans are picked from a plant and that very plant was the one that used the light and heat from the stars to grow. You get to see a big concept broken down into digestible pieces and the concept becomes very clear and easy to understand.
He’s also fun because when you listen to his podcasts, it won’t feel like a boring 2-hour university lecture. He will talk to you as if you are friends. In the episode where he talks about stars, he starts it off in a very fun and casual way by asking listeners to lay on their backs and look up at the stars. You will then hear scrunching sounds as he himself lays down with you and also pretends to look at the dotted sky. With his podcasts, you get to learn and simultaneously be entertained especially as each episode does not exceed 20 minutes.
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