Arab Despacito: Comedy version of the song complains about high dowries

By Nada Rashwan & Patrick Evans
BBC News

Image source, YouTube

Omanis have released their own humorous cover of the Despacito internet sensation grumbling about the prohibitive price of marriage arrangements in their country.

Contrasting with the seductive tone of the original, their version complains about the high marriage costs demanded by women's families in Oman.

The video has already been watched over a quarter of a million times since it was released yesterday (although the initial upload of the video has since been removed).

This version starts with the lead singer, Omani musician Mohamed al-Mungi, visiting the father of the woman he wishes to marry. The father demands that any suitor should own an apartment, a car and provide a shabka (jewellery given as a gift to the bride) as well as pay a dowry.

"Why do you put conditions that break our backs? Have you forgotten how cheap dowries used to be in your time?" Mohamed sings to the father.

In the video the chorus of the original song is replaced with the refrain "you are tormenting them" in Arabic.

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The song urges the older generations not to force young men to "run after money and superficialities" and to let them marry their daughters who are languishing at home.

Omani entertainer Muhannad al-Adwani, better known as Hanood, raps in Arabic to the beat of Daddy Yankee's segment, telling parents that marriage should be "simple, simple" without expensive demands from them.

"He wanted her, they got engaged. Her parents said yes, packed her bags and celebrated her arrival to her new home. And then they marry and they finally rest. See? It's simple."

A 'noble' message

The video has broadly received positive comments on social media for highlighting the issue of expensive dowries.

Sports presenter Jamal al-Husni praised the Omani Despacito's "beautiful idea and noble message".

Buthaina Bulushi, a presenter at Oman's state television, shared the song on her Twitter page and cheered the duo for their creativity.

Agreeing with the song's message, Twitter user @Nwwar90 urged parents to "be more humble and demand lower dowries".

Image source, @Nwwar90

In traditional Arab culture the groom pays a dowry as a gift to the bride as stated in the Islamic Sharia Law.

The Sharia doesn't specify certain amounts or even that the dowry be a material gift and it is encouraged in Islam to keep it modest and symbolic.

Expensive dowries have been an issue in Oman for some years now leaving many men to remain bachelors.

A global hit

The original Despacito by artist Luis Fonsi is the most-streamed song of all time.

The title translates as "slowly", referring to the speed of Fonsi's seduction technique.

It hit number one in Latin America when it was released in January but became a global hit after Justin Bieber did a version of it.

Media caption,
Luis Fonsi's Despacito has become the most-streamed song of all time.

By UGC & Social News hub, additional reporting by BBC Monitoring.