When Pharell Williams released his “Happy” single followed by the stunningly beautiful “24 hours of Happy“, who could have expected it to have influenced hundreds of covers from virtually all corners of the world? Well, people in the Middle East and North Africa were no exception. From Lebanon to Morocco, passing by Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunis, and Algeria, it seems like the MENA region is filled with people willing to just be happy and dance. So who are those happy Middle Easterners and North Africans?
They are random men and women of all ages, professions and backgrounds who have responded to Pharell Williams’ call to share their happiness with the world. So without further ado, here they are. We'll start with Lebanon and make our way West all the way to Morocco.
A huge thank you to the awesome people at WeAreHappyFrom.com for cataloging all Happy covers so far, and counting. Apologies in advance in case we missed your city.
Cre8mania, a Lebanese interactive agency, produced this video shot in Beirut, Jounieh, Byblos, Dbayeh, Bourj Hammoud and Dora.
The following video was done by BeAmman which, in its own words, “is a site that was borne out of a love and passion for the city Amman, and a desire to present Jordanians and visitors with all that the city has to offer – from people to meet, places to see and things to do, to the challenges and opportunities that exist in the city.”
The following video was produced by Tel Aviv-based film and post production studio Kino Kitchen & Glikson Rental Services and was shot in Tel Aviv.
The following video was produced by 6maaSha, a Kuwaiti comedian group.
Saudi Arabia couldn't have asked for a better representative than Alaa Wardi himself. With over 300,000 subscribers and 37,000,000 views, the Saudi Arabia-based Jordanian singer is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, Arab online sensations. He's known for his Hindi covers of Bollywood hits Pehla Nasha and Jiya Re, his covers of both western songs such as Lorde's “Royals” and Rihanna's “Stay” and Arabic songs such as Khaled “Aisha” and Nancy Ajram's “Fi Hagat” as well as producing the satirical “No woman, no drive” criticizing Saudi Arabia's ban on Women driving with comedian Hisham Fageeh and Fahad Albutairi. The following Happy cover features Telfaz11.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Hidden gem company “Dubai Confidential” can boast over 200,000 viewers for its cover of “Happy”. In their own words: “watch 29 Nationalities and your city, Dubai from sunrise to midnight, dance, share and be happy.”
Right from the heart of Umm al-Dunya (mother of the world), AIESEC AAST produced this cover from Cairo, Egypt.
Predictably, Tunisians were the ones who started covering the ‘Happy’ song to begin with. With at least 18 covers, Tunisia has more covers than all other MENA countries combined.
Let's start with the most popular one. With over 1,400,000 views, the Star Wars fan club of Tunisia shot this cover in Tatooine. Okay maybe not Tatooine, but quite close.
With over 250,000 views, this cover directly from Tunis was directed by Ezzet Chtouro and produced by Asma El Constantini in cooperation with Pulse Mag. The cover became so popular that it even earned its own Facebook page.
Also with more than 250,000 views, Bizerta was able to catch up Tunisia's capital. This cover was produced by “Fayrouz” and released by Amine Ghali.
Unlike the other MENA countries (except Morocco – see below), Tunisia can boast a greater diversity of towns represented. Indeed, they come from Nabeul, La Marsa, Sfax, Monastir, Djerba, Carthage, Kairouan, Sousse, and Carthage again!
A nice remix produced by Nawaat features selected performances from the above video.
The students of Computer Science school Exia Cesi produced Algeria's liveliest cover.
We're ending our series in Morocco, which was represented a fair amount of time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular cover comes from Casablanca with over 350,000 views and was produced by Cine-Scene International.
With 250,000 views, Agadir can claim the title of the second most popular cover. Forty participants joined to dance for this one.
MENA's most popular university cover comes from the students of Al Akhawayn University (AUI) in Ifrane.
And the other Moroccan companies, cities, and regions covered by happy dancers are: Marrakech, Rabat-Sale, Hem Tanger, Rabat, WebHelp Agadir, Oujda, Meknes, Agadir (again), Nador, Theatro Marrakech, Kenitra, El Jadida, Tafraout, Fes, Sale, Rabat (again),