Biography Of Kareem Salama
I appreciate that thoughts, ideas or cultures which may seem opposite or different can come together cohesively to make something unique. I was born and raised in Ponca City, a small town at the edge of Green Country in Oklahoma, but my parents were born and raised in Egypt. When I was young I loved water painting but I was also an amateur boxer for years. I enjoy classical Western poetry but I enjoy classical Arabic poetry as well. I have a degree in Chemical Engineering but now I’m finishing my last year in law school. I like country and blue grass music but I appreciate good R&B music as well.
Oklahoma, like me, is a place where cultures meet and dance. Oklahoma is a hybrid of Southern, Western and Native American culture and thanks to my mother’s insatiable desire to learn and experience new things she made sure that I and everyone in my family was immersed in all of it.
As a child, I went to Indian Tribal Powwows, heard country music artists at the county fair and watched my favorite cowboys at the rodeo every year. My mother would take us to nearby Western Arkansas just to watch an outdoor play in an amphitheater. My parents would take us to Branson, Missouri in the summertime where we’d watch live shows, listen to bluegrass music and make wax candles like it was done in the old times. They even took us to Opryland and the famous Grand Old Opry in Tennessee. This was the culture I was born and raised in, and it influences the sound of my music. Having said that, I feel my music isn’t limited to one genre; I draw on elements from country, pop, rock and folk music.
I began writing songs when I was very young but I became a more serious writer because of my love for classical poetry. My favorite poem is John Donne’s A Valediction Forbidding Mourning. Years ago, I wrote my own melody for John Donne’s poem, recorded it on a little tape player, and after listening to it a few times I memorized it. I got the idea from my studies of Arabic poetry. I had memorized some Arabic poetry but I always found Arabic poetry easy to commit to memory because much of it is written with a melody. Being able to sing John Donne’s poem made it easier to put to memory. After memorizing A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, I began doing the same thing with other poems I liked. Pretty soon, I started to write my own songs again.
I never planned on making a music album. I’ve just always found expressing myself through songs a soothing and cathartic practice. But a series of events has led me to this endeavor. I don’t presume to make any grandiose statements about how my music will change the industry or change the world. My hope is that my words will fall upon ears and hearts that may be seeking the same thing I am seeking…the inspiration to live a virtuous life that is pleasing to God.
Perhaps the listener can find some inspiration in the words to live a better moment and perhaps that may lead to another better moment and another. One of my teachers taught me that goodness follows goodness and vice follows vice. If I can inspire the listener to ask a serious question about her or his life then that may lead to another question and, God willing, the quest for answers.
Kareem Salama Personal Facts
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Hobbies and Interests:
Swimming, boxing, playing the guitar, writing music, currently working on a novel, reading just about anything, politics, southern geography, constitutional law, entrepreneurship, theology, trap shooting, sitting outside preferably near water, recently taken an interest in horses (want to have one eventually and name her Bella)…
When I was 12 years old I was one of the best .22 high caliber rifle shooters in the state of Oklahoma
The Shield and the Cloak, How Free Can Religion Be, Anything by Emerson, Fragments, Letters of a Sufi Master, The Essential America, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Arabic Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth Century, Anything by John Makdisi, Al Hikam, Maqamat Al Hareeri, Anything by Imam Al Ghazali, The Natural Child, If God is Love, Ornament of the World, Our Endangered Values, Understanding Islam, What Southern Women Know…
Favorite Theatrical Play:
The Candy Man. When I was 8 my mother made me go with her to see it and I slept through the whole thing. It was great!
Braveheart, The Goonies, North and South
Tim McGraw, Andy Griggs, Goo Goo Dolls, John Denver, Garth Brooks, currently really like The Fray
My mother’s Fried Fish with hot sauce and Sweet Corn
Favorite Sports Teams:
University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Auburn Tigers
All the great men and women throughout the ages