Alaa Wardi, YouTube music star in Saudi Arabia, releases pay-what-you-can record

Alaa Wardi (Twitter, instagram) is an Iranian-born singer based in Saudia Arabia whose vocal harmonies and viral videos have become big hits online.

Much of his music is sung in Arabic, and he has a big fanbase in the mideast, but that hasn't stopped audiences around the world from swaying and bobbing to his sweet beats. Above, "Wel Loom Ramani," one of the tracks on the new, downloadable, pay-what-you-want-or-don't-pay-anything-if-you-can't album "Ya Bay," from his band Hayajan.

Download from iTunes, Download for free, Download lyrics booklet.

You can subscribe to his YouTube channel here; it's full of new good stuff regularly.

Boing Boing reader Alexander Ringis in Australia, who first turned me on to this artist, emails about the new album,
The thing that I find most pleasing is that having gained internet notoriety through his little "one man band" clips, he's now collaborated with a number of other artists to produce his debut album, and also - in honour of the people who made him "notorious", he's offering their debut album for FREE if you want it, or "Pay what you want", or "Buy it on iTunes". A very mature choice and a very very 2013 way to promote your album recording, imho. I myself have listened to most of the tracks on the Album, and have decided to give them 40$AU, because I feel rewarded for following Alaa for that long and to have seen him produce something of this quality.

I've listened to a lot of the tracks on the album, and I like many of them (some more than others), but one which really blew me away was only what I can describe as "Middle Eastern Shoegazer", it's like they took "Yo La Tengo", "My Bloody Valentine", and blended it with some Middle Eastern music, with a small touch of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. Whatever it is, Alaa's voice is gorgeous as always, and It's very very pleasant.

Totally. I think I even heard a little bit of Cranberries in that track above! I will be downloading and donating.