Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Mustapha Re-Revisted

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Zoroaster user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 25 Oct 05, 23:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I recently made contact with a professor at UCLA, Dr. Hossein Ziai, who teaches Iranian and various other subjects, including ancient Persian literature. Dr. Ziai is fluent in Persian and familiar with its many dialects and, sadly, has informed me that the lyrics of Mustapha mean nearly nothing. I began by sending him the common transliteration of the song's lyrics, to which he replied "I cannot make it out and will need more information. It may be a Kurdish dialect." Then, unabashed, I sent him a file of the song itself. After listening, he replied, "It sounds mostly like gibberish, although some words are correct for a Persian usage setting." It seems, as some fans suspected, that Fred was in fact just toying around with us, knowing enough Persian and Arabic to tease us, without really meaning anything. Well, that's all for the daily Zoroaster report. Mustapha: Case closed...?
Cheers.


Zoroaster the Grand and Magnificent
Maz user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 25 Oct 05, 23:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/Faculty/Ziai.htm

Do you know Prof. Ziai or did you just contact him out of the blue?


DJ's the man we love the most
John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zoroaster wrote:

I recently made contact with a professor at UCLA, Dr. Hossein Ziai, who teaches Iranian and various other subjects, including ancient Persian literature. Dr. Ziai is fluent in Persian and familiar with its many dialects and, sadly, has informed me that the lyrics of Mustapha mean nearly nothing. I began by sending him the common transliteration of the song's lyrics, to which he replied "I cannot make it out and will need more information. It may be a Kurdish dialect." Then, unabashed, I sent him a file of the song itself. After listening, he replied, "It sounds mostly like gibberish, although some words are correct for a Persian usage setting." It seems, as some fans suspected, that Fred was in fact just toying around with us, knowing enough Persian and Arabic to tease us, without really meaning anything. Well, that's all for the daily Zoroaster report. Mustapha: Case closed...?
Cheers.



I do not understand the point you are trying to make.

First Mustapha does not claim to be some long lost Gnostic gospel - it is a POP song. The lyrics are up there with:

"All I want is a zing-a-zing-ah"

"...tutti-fruitti, oh rutti,
a-wop-bop-a-looma, a-wom-bam-boom"

"A doo-doo-dah, a doo-doo, doo",

and of course my favourite:

Chantilly Lace
Has a Pretty face
A pony tail
Hanging down
A wiggle when you walk
A giggle when you talk
Makes the world go round
There ain't nothing in the world
Like a big-eyed girl
To make me act so funny
Make me spend my money
Make me talk real loose
Like a long-necked goose
Hey, baby that's-a what I like.

Why not send these lyrics to Dr. Hossein Ziai, and see what he makes of them?


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
Erin user not visiting Queenzone.com
Erin
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John S Stuart wrote:

"All I want is a zing-a-zing-ah"



Great..now I got Wannabe going through my head... Thanks a lot, John! ;-P

Lisser user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zeni wrote:

http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/Faculty/Ziai.htm

Do you know Prof. Ziai or did you just contact him out of the blue?


That is an impressive biography.


Wo ist das kamerahhhhhhhhhhh!!!



NJ!!!























Serry... user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

1. http://www.pemcom.demon.co.uk/queen/jazz/mustapha.trn.html

2. Who said that Freddie wanted to bring some meaning in this song?

John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My second point, is that Mustapha is a work of art which belongs to the "Stream of consciousness" poetic tradition.

Usually associated with poets like T.S. Elliot - whose works often contain lines of Sanskrit, or Arabic, for no other reason than they were in his mind at the time, (or perhaps they scanned better at that precise moment).

This "Stream of consciousness" is also found in the art of Salvador Dali, and the music concrete of composers like the French composer Pierre Schaeffer.

The resoning behind the "Stream of consciousness" school of thought is not to provide a realistic "photographic" portrayal - but to build an impressionistic flavour or representation.

For example, to evoke the flavours of the Brighton seaside in "Brighton Rock" Queen used a piece of background organ music called "Carousel", but this comes from the more traditional school of thought.

On the other hand to evoke the flavours of the circus in "Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite", the Beatles jumbled and edited all sorts of organ noises together. This was not a realistic portrayal, but more a collage of sounds which in its own way, was MORE representative of the circus, than just the straight forward plying of "toot-toot-toodle-dela-toot-toot-toodle" we would expect to find.

It is the same with Mustapha. It is NOT meant to be taken literally. It is meant to evoke images of the east and west coming together in some sort of alliance through the individual Musatapha. (In otherwords Mustpha transcends the stereotypical Eastern/Westerner, by having his feet and values in both camps).

In this way the track is rather prophetic, as with Turkey about to join the EU and become more "westernised", it seems to describe how the typical citizen from that country may have allegiances in both camps.

Finally, no amount of study, intellectual disection, or research will ever be able to understand the language of the heart. Mustapha is about emotions, and sometimes although these are very easy to feel, to understand, it is very difficult for the head to rationalise.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 10:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Erin wrote:

John S Stuart wrote:

"All I want is a zing-a-zing-ah"



Great..now I got Wannabe going through my head... Thanks a lot, John! ;-P


My pleasure? ;-)


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
rockyracoon user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 18:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John, that is some of the best commentary ever posted on this board. Thank you for your contribution.

Rocky

Zoroaster user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 21:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For Christ's sake, Mr. Stuart, get off my back. It was never my intent to obtain some great intellectual meaning from the song. Although I did have it analyzed by a professional in the field of Persian dialects, it was merely an issue of curiosity. The main reason I pursued this matter was, I felt it had not been thoroughly pursued in this direction before, from a scholarly standpoint.

I understand your thinking, considering the work to contain eastern dialects merely to evoke a middle-eastern image in the mind of the listener; but if the lyrics HAD contained some meaning, would it be not worthwhile, for curiosity's sake if nothing else, just to know the meaning of said lyrics?

Your objections to the validity of my post are duely noted, but I feel my intentions were misunderstood.



Zoroaster the Grand and Magnificent
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 21:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I heard the same.

I think Mustapha is just Freddie playing around with creating a Queen track with a cultural mystique, like so many of their others.

John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Oct 05, 23:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zoroaster wrote:

For Christ's sake, Mr. Stuart, get off my back. It was never my intent to obtain some great intellectual meaning from the song... Your objections to the validity of my post are duely noted, but I feel my intentions were misunderstood.


Sorry, I think you misunderstand.

I am "not on your back", nor did I give you a hard time, or belittle you or your posting. Infact, I think the idea behind the thread is quite unique and fascinating.

I honestly replied to a thread - on a public forum. If that upset you, I appologise, but it was you who wrote: "Mustapha: Case closed...?", and I thought that was an opening for debate, I guess you are now saying it wasn't?

However, to disagree is no insult, and I feel sorry you feel that way.

My main point was that the song IS gibberish. It was meant to be taken as gibberish and not some academic tome or secret gospel as rehearsed by Freddie Mercury.

If you feel that is giving you a hard time, you really need to grow a much thicker skin, as Queenzone can be brutally honest at times.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."