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My Talent From Home: Jordan gets creative in confinement

Jordan’s Ministry of Culture launched the ongoing #موهبتي_من_بيتي “My Talent From Home” contest in late March, already accumulating 67,000 participants and 18 million views across social media platforms. In addition to a priceless sense of community, a hundred prizes are awarded weekly, with monetary compensation, with a few standout candidates broadcasted on national television.

With lockdown measure still preventing Jordanians from leaving their homes, except in cases of emergency, and all schools remaining closed, the social media fueled contest provides a creative outlet for the youth. All one needs is a camera and their, perhaps undiscovered, talent.

موعدنا غدا … الساعة الرابعة مساء على شاشة التلفزيون الأردني و جميع صفحات وزارة الثقافة على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي … للإعلان عن أسماء الفائزين بجوائز الأسبوع الثاني من مسابقة #موهبتي_من _بيتيكونوا على الموعد … بالتوفيق للجميع#الأردن_يبدع #خليك_بالدار #وزارة_الثقافة_الأردنية #موهبتي_من_بيتي #صحتك_بتهمنا #فيروس_كورونا #الأردن_أقوى #حب_الأردن #قيمنا_ثقافتنا #الأردن

Posted by ‎وزارة الثقافة الأردنية‎ on Saturday, April 11, 2020

All talent is welcome

The many entries encompass a wide spectrum of categories including music, comedy, poetry, drawing and storytelling. The contestants are divided into two age groups, those from age 10- 14 and 15 to 25 once their video has been submitted using the hashtag, either on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, before facing a jury of 5 established Jordanian artists. Beyond their verdict, the number of views and likes on social media are also taken into account, to determine which entries will make broadcast onto live Jordanian television each week.

As if that were not enough there is a monetary reward of 100 to 1,000 dinars ($140-$1,400).

Newly discovered stars

Among the winners is Mahmoud Azzazi, 22, living in the capital, Amman, and is studying culinary arts, but has been turning to music to escape the boredom of lockdown. His rendition of the globally appreciated “Sway,” made famous by the likes of Dean Martin earned him on the first awards.

Another is Taleen Hindeleh, 20, with a musical flow that runs through the family, as the daughter of a veteran Jordanian singer, Attallah, also prizewinner of a culture ministry talent contest. She belted out “I want to fly, nobody can clip my wings” while playing piano in their home.

Confined further north, in Ajloun, 25-year-old Nabil Al-Rabadhi won a prize for his performance of “Enta omri” which translates to “You are my life“ a track originally sung by the legendary Egyptian Umm Kalthoum. Instead of singing, however, Nabil played it on the qanun, a stringed instrument similar to a zither, native to the Middle East. He expressed the importance to showcase a traditional instrument from his region, while many other contestants relied on Western ones.

Although lockdown restrictions have begun to ease during the day, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, the curfew remains at night, hence the magnitude of entries that continue to flood in.