Arabic music (not elsewhere classified)

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I've been seeing a lot of interesting-looking new, or at least somewhat recent, Arabic CDs, generally either of a folkloric, religious or classical nature. (Not always easy to completely separate these categories.) I don't know if I'm imagining it, but there seems to be more of this stuff around in the past couple years. Sufi music from Egypt and Syria, instead of the more common Pakistan or North Africa. I've largely given up on current Arabic pop music, but there's still a fair amount of music around that is being produced for a more specialized audience.

I was told by the owner of the Arab grocery where I used to buy a lot of music that after the Gulf War (1991), there was an increased interest in Iraqi music, among Arabs in general (many of whom ordinarily would hardly be listening to any of it). I get the distinct impression that more CDs of Iraqi music are showing up for sale online these days.

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 15 July 2003 23:20 (12 years ago) Permalink

It's not necessarily the definite article, but check out Jaz Coleman & Anne Dudley's Songs from the Victorious City.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 00:10 (12 years ago) Permalink

Alex, I think I have that on cassette somewhere, but haven't heard it for a long time. (I'm paranoid about playing any cassettes these days, since my tape player was starting to eat them at one point.) It was kind of gratifying seeing someone from the west going on about how great it was to work with Arab musicians. But since you mentioned it, I will put it on some time soon. I don't think I new him by name when someone loaned me that album, but at one point he mentioned that he had played with Killing Joke, which I admit was a little bit of a surprise. (Though why should I be surprised given Jah Wobble's Arabophilia?)

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 00:18 (12 years ago) Permalink

Incidentally, you might like some of the rhythms in Iraqi music which have a kind of heavy martial sound to them (even though they accompany regular old love songs). Actually the rhythms at the beginning of this particular clip (the second one) sound a lot like some things I've heard in Algerian Berber music. (Thanks for visiting my thread.)

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 00:26 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm seeing some folkloric stuff from Libya now on I hardly ever see much of anything out of Libya and don't know what their music sounds like, but this looks interesting.

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 15:48 (12 years ago) Permalink

Weren't Nasa from Yemen? Their sort've quasi-Duran metal had flourishes of Arabic music,.....however watered down. Ofra Haza sang a bit on their album (which also featured cameos from Les Warner of the Cult and Raven from ....WAIT FOR IT....Killing Joke.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 15:50 (12 years ago) Permalink

who is it? is it the VA # Cd set or something else?

H (Heruy), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 15:53 (12 years ago) Permalink

I was talking to an Egyptian friend of mine (studying here in the US) about music--I really enjoyed Mohammed Abd el Wahab, but didn't know too much else arabic music. He pointed me to, which is where he listened to a lot of music. I'm not sure how legit the site is, but with a free registration there's a ton of stuff to listen to.

I found some things I really liked: Nagat, from Egypt; a great song by Saad Abd el Wahab (who is apparently the brother of Mohammed Abd el Wahab); and songs under the "Aghany Ramadan" section which I believe means Ramadan songs...

arch Ibog (arch Ibog), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 18:22 (12 years ago) Permalink

Alex, I can't help you, since I don't know that band.

arch Ibog, I think actually is legitimate, but most of those artists don't interest me much. (Haven't looked recently.)

Nagat has some okay songs. I find the ones I've heard drag a little bit at times though.

I've heard some songs sung by Abdel Wahab that I've really liked, but I've also heard some where his singing wasn't so hot. I've heard contradictory things about his singing, some people saying that after a certain point early in his career his voice was no good; some people saying that his voice came and went; and other people saying that his voice was fine, and what are you talking about?

H, I don't know who that question is directed toward. The stuff I mean is at the top of this page: New releases.

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 18:58 (12 years ago) Permalink

sorry, that was directed at you RS and i was referring to the one at the top of the new releases page, though there was a second comp up htere as well.

H (Heruy), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 19:02 (12 years ago) Permalink

This is the thread for discussing Arabic music I haven't started other threads about, with special emphasis on Killing Joke collaborators.

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 19:13 (12 years ago) Permalink

RS do you have an Iranian music to recommend me? I live right by a Iranian market which has shelves upon shelves of CDs and cassettes. Most of it looks of fairly recent vintage.

amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 19:18 (12 years ago) Permalink

(Yes, I am aware that Iran is not an Arabic country.)

amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 19:19 (12 years ago) Permalink

amateurist, I know very little about Iranian music. The classical singer Mohammed Reza Shahjarian is great, and even though I have only heard two of his albums, I suspect you'd be okay buying anything, especially if someone there recommends it.

There's also a sometimes campy pop singer from the 70's (I assume) named Ramesh who I kind of like.

I may have one or two names to add when I'm at home, but that's it.

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 16 July 2003 19:36 (12 years ago) Permalink

Lots of the stuff I've been seeing is from Institut du Monde Arabe.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 19 July 2003 19:54 (12 years ago) Permalink

Al Rockist -- I also want to ask you a question. A(nother) Oum Kalsoum question, actually: the album Les Grandes Compositeurs Vol 3, would that be a good one to get?
(AllMusicGuide, e.g., doesn't even mention this Vol 3; but as it happens, it's the only Kalsoum I could order from a record shop in my hometown)

Can you suggest a different source (in Engl.?)? Or d'you know what kind of a compilation said disc is, as per period and material?

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Saturday, 19 July 2003 20:07 (12 years ago) Permalink

This seems to be a UK distributor. They have some titles I've mentioned before. I don't think a compilation is the way to go for an introduction to Oum Kalthoum.

I am not familiar with that collection, and can't find anything about it so far. I'm guessing it will be fairly early material, which I find hard to get into, if it's many pieces on one CD (although some of the film songs are fairly short and cover a period that interests me more than the pre-40's stuff).

Al Andalous, Saturday, 19 July 2003 20:17 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think has a couple different entries for her under different spellings.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 19 July 2003 20:25 (12 years ago) Permalink

Okeh, I'll check the different spellings thingy too. Thanks.

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Saturday, 19 July 2003 20:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

Of the stuff this distributor carries, I would most recommend ROBAEYAT EL KHAYAM.

SAHRAN LEWAHDE, from about the same year, is also quite good, but I think it's a little more challenging.

A lot of western listeners seem to enjoy the late recording AL ATLAL, which is also very popular with Arabs.

I personally prefer HAZIHI LAYLATY to that, as long as it's the live version. (Don't buy it unless you are sure it is.)

Al Andalous, Saturday, 19 July 2003 20:32 (12 years ago) Permalink

I beseech you, in the name of all that is consuemrist and music-obsessive, go to this page and listen to the "Ya Msaharni" sample from George Wassouf Sings Om Kolthoum 4. This is one of my favorite psychedelic sounding Arabic pop songs (this particular recording, not the original, which sounds quite a bit different).

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 18:22 (12 years ago) Permalink

The song is by Sayed Mekawi who is a totally great song-writer or composer or whatever.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 18:24 (12 years ago) Permalink

Actually, Wassouf mostly sucks, but his backing band or orchestra at various times has done some nice things, and I think occasionally his drug use has artificially allowed him to get to some interesting places with his singing.

The remix sounds really awful.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 19:08 (12 years ago) Permalink

arch Ibog, has expanded considerably since I last visisted, but it looks like it's just a pay-for-download thing, or am I not looking closely enough?

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 19:25 (12 years ago) Permalink

uh, RS, if I went to the right link I am unsure why this is something that inspires beseeching....explain please.

H (Heruy), Saturday, 26 July 2003 20:51 (12 years ago) Permalink

Really? I think it's great. Now you'll know not to trust me. I think the melody sounds really trippy played on that electric organ, and the rhythms and the slow pace draw me in. (You did listen to the "Ya Msaharni" sample?) What can I tell you?

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 21:02 (12 years ago) Permalink

It sounds like a very strung out after hours party in a circus tent.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 21:04 (12 years ago) Permalink

i'll listen again (btw check yr mail, i just sent you a msg)

H (Heruy), Saturday, 26 July 2003 21:07 (12 years ago) Permalink

Wait! There's a copy of the entire song further down the page, under the slightly different transliteration: "Ya Misaharni". (From "Live volume 3" or something like that.) Try that one. It will at least give you a more complete sense of the shape of the song.

But anyway, I just like it in a very immediate way. The organ sounds so cool to me. I like the spaciousness of it. It's got a feel almost like dub, but with very different rhythms and so forth. I just love the sound of doumbeks, in general, too. On a really microscopic level, there's the sound of a person's voice--I think from the audience--during the introduction, and it seems to occur at a perfect place. Some of these organ/synth sounds could either be heard as incredibly corny or as very trippy (not that I really see a contradiction there). Also, some of the melodic lines seemed very familiar to me practically the first time I heard it, and that seemed a little mysterious.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 22:34 (12 years ago) Permalink

I find it very evocative of a canabis high.

Al Andalous, Saturday, 26 July 2003 22:41 (12 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...
The Beginner's Guide to Arabia listed on this page looks like a good overview. I don't know what individual songs are on it, but it definitely has a mix of older and newer popular styles.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 11 December 2003 02:17 (12 years ago) Permalink

I see it's on Nascente. They put out good compilations, in general.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 11 December 2003 02:21 (12 years ago) Permalink

Khaled to thread!

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 11 December 2003 03:06 (12 years ago) Permalink

I found a track listing, but I still don't really know what's on it. (I hope they didn't pick an Oum Kalthoum song from before the late 30's, but they probably did, since that's where most of the short ones can be found.) Most of it will probably be junk, but it is a broad overview, and some of what I now consider junk helped me get into what I now consider classic.

Nascente has a similar salsa compilation, but if anything there isn't enough junk on it. I mean, it's mostly very propper classic salsa. The newer examples seem to be from people who have some sort of agenda of maintaining the greatness of the past. I am sympathetic up to a point, but there is plenty of salsa aimed at mainstream commercial success (e.g., Grupo Niche or Gilberto Santa Rosa at their best) which is more vital than most of what I've heard from, say, Jimmy Bosch. Still, it's a good looking compilation.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 11 December 2003 03:31 (12 years ago) Permalink

Track listing for Beginner's Guide to Arabia:

01 Farid El Atrache - Hebeena Hebeena

(Somewhat cheesy Farid, but popular, and I like it, but still, there is harder edged stuff that might have more appeal.)

02 Nagat - Sa'al Feya

(Don't know this song by name.)

03 Talal El Madaah - Maza Aqool Wa Qad Himt

04 Talal El Madaah - Maza Aqool Wa Qad Himt

05 Sabah - Ala Eyni Talabatak

(Don't know track by name. Sabah is pretty much old-school in style, but not as classically oriented as Oum Kalthoum.)

06 Ahmad Fat'hi - Shaqek El Ward

07 Oum Kalthoum - Ala Balad El Mahboub

08 Abdallah Balkheir - Leilah

09 Fairuz - Inshallah Ma Bu Shi

(Don't know this song. It will probably either be very good or very bad, though her voice will be fine either way.)

10 Majida El Roumi - Ana Am Bihlam

(I am not into her, though she is pretty well regarded, espcially in her home, Lebanon, I think.)

11 George Wassouf - Tabib Garah

(This is not a bad song from George Wassouf's relatively recent output.)

12 Samira Tawfic - - Ballaa Tsoubou Hal Kahwa

(Samira Tewfic has recorded some fantastic songs. I have no idea which one this is.)

13 Amr Diab - Rajeen

(With Kazem el Saher, probably one of the two biggest Arab pop singers. Zzzzz.)

14 Ilham Al Madfai - Khuttar

(An Iraqi who does an odd mix of Arab and western jazz/rock whatever. I haven't heard much by him.)

15 Nawal El Zoughbi - El Layali

16 Aamer Muneeb - Hikayatak Eih

17 Dania - Afrahou Gannouh

18 Assi Al Hilani - Ater Al Mahabah

19 Yuri Mrakidi - Takoulin

20 Elissa - Hilm Al Ahlam

21 Hisham Abbas - Habibi Dah (Nari Narien)

22 Howayda - Aghrab

23 George Al Rassy - Min Ghadr El Hob

24 The 1001 Nights Project Feat Dania [Lebanon] (Transglobal Underground Mix

25 Kareem Al Iraqi - Al Ghurbeh

26 Hasna - Gibran's Wisdom

27 Guy Manoukian - Yasmina

28 Mai & Waheed - Laish Laish Ya Jara

29 Oryx - Awakenings

30 Rida Al Abdallah - Baghdad

31 Yasser Habeeb - Elama

32 Fayez El Saeed - Baleini

33 Ilham Al Madfai - El Tufah (original mix)

34 Jawed Al Ali - El Shoug

35 The R.E.G. Project - Harem

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 11 December 2003 03:43 (12 years ago) Permalink

I just had to come back and say that "Hebeena Hebeena" is great, after listening to it last night. Yes, there are shlocky elements to it, and it might have been better to find some Farid without any shlock, but it's pretty charming shlock (especially the electric organ). It's mostly an upbeat tune, but with an interlude when he goes into what is more or less a vocal solo, so it gives a taste of that kind of stretched out performance, where the rhythm becomes extremely loose.

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 11 December 2003 17:03 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hey Rockist, slightly off topic but did you go see Hassan Hakmoun the other night?

H (Heruy), Friday, 12 December 2003 08:57 (12 years ago) Permalink


No. I was running behind in the afternoon, and then I wanted to eat something before I went, and then it was raining and I walked all over trying to hail a cab, dodging completely homicidal drivers in the process. I got sick of it all and decided to go home. I wish I had planned it better though, because I could have made it. The more I thought of it though, the more I didn't like the idea of his being given a limited time slot. (There was another artist on the program, and these programs definitely end at a certain time, whereas when I've seen him before, he's had the time to stretch out. Well, not in Moroccan terms, but comparatively.) Still I should have gone, but I bet nobody went into a trance; nobody ever goes into a trance at Philadelphia shows, except the occasional performer from Baluchistan.

Rockist Scientist, Friday, 12 December 2003 15:35 (12 years ago) Permalink

yeah, Haale was opening for him, she's actually supposed to be really good. He was playing a full on gnawa set (no fusion) on Thursday in NYC but figgered you would not be able to make that.

re trances: when he played toronto this past summer, the reports I got were that were going into full trances and actually passing out!

H (Heruy), Saturday, 13 December 2003 12:49 (12 years ago) Permalink

I was stupid not to plan my time better. I don't know, sometimes I just get in these moods when I don't want to go out and do the things I want to do. ?

Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 13 December 2003 20:03 (12 years ago) Permalink

A couple new releases that look good: another Ahmad Adawaia best of, and a Marcel Khalife CD that, judging by the couple clips I've listened to so far, actually seems to successfully blend jazz elements with Lebanese music. I'm surprised since I haven't really liked any recordngs he's made since the 80's (although I didn't hear anything by him until around 1993). Also lots of DVDs of Arabic movies. (Maybe some day.)

New releases

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Thursday, 25 December 2003 01:48 (12 years ago) Permalink

Bought the Khalife. I'll indulgently repeat what I said on the "Last x" thread:

Very interesting new instrumental album from Marcel Khalife. He's mixing jazz elements with Arab music, not an original idea I realize, but I like what he's doing here more than I like just about any other combination of Arab music with jazz that I've heard. I'm glad he is getting away from the big orchestral works which all sounded the same to me, and which I didn't like to begin with. The personnel includes his sons (I assume): Rami and Bachar Khalife, Peter Herbert (who typically plays with jazz musicians) on bass, and a cameo appearance by violinist Omar Guey (soloing). The first three or four tracks flow together quite nicely, but the fifth--what is this--this thing? I heard something very similar in a song on an older Khalife album. It's like an extended Chopinesque version of "Happy Birthday To You!" Unbelievably sacharine. I have no idea what he is trying to do here. Nothing else on the CD is like that one track, although I'm not crazy about his son Rami's piano playing in some cases. A little too influenced by Romantic era classical piano. (Both his sons are trained in European classical music.) Overall, I like it quite a bit. The use of vibraphones (played by Bachar) adds an unexpected color, which works extremely well with Arab rhythms. The second track has an odd disjunctive sort of rhythm that seems to borrow from free jazz. (It's not Arab, I'm sure, and it's not a straightahead jazz rhythm.) Also, the audio quality is very high. I hope this Khalife CD gets some press. (I hope the label is sending out review copies, and not just to "world music" magazines, but to other places where it might have a chance of being covered.)

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Wednesday, 31 December 2003 01:22 (12 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
These two new CDs of music from Yemen look good to me. (Brief audio samples available.)

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 29 February 2004 21:14 (12 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
Earlier I dug out a Faiza Ahmed tape that I used to think was terrible but hadn't heard in a while. I recently ordered a Faiza Ahmed CD after hearing some stuff by her that I liked online (including clips from the CD). It turns out that this tape is a copy of the same album I just ordered on CD. I think I know why I didn't like it before (too much of the heavy violin section cliches and at times an annoying chorus), but the songs themselves are pretty good and Ahmed's singing is good as well.

Jaz Coleman & Anne Dudley's Songs from the Victorious City.

I'm finally getting around to listening to this again (after not hearing it for a long time). I don't really understand why they import non-Arab rhythms into this. The rhythmic resources in Arabic music are very rich.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 23 May 2004 20:43 (11 years ago) Permalink

I think it works really well. Very authentic Arabic sound [the likes of Hossam Ramzy add a bit of authentism/cred], successfully fused with Dudley's Below-the-Waste-period 'percussion' loops, or whatever she calls them.

I'm amazed Natacha Atlas hasn't been mentioned in this thread. Highlights are Disapora, Gedida, and parts of Ayeshteni. Despite being largely Belgian/Moroccan/British, her artistic leanings are toward Egypt, and it really shows.

In the interest of variety, Mezdeke's a good example of Turkish rhythms, and exemplifies just how broad Arabic music can be. The CDs can be hard to pick up though; you'd do well to try your local Lebanese bakery.

Amr Diab? Meh. Doesn't do anything for me. Habibi's the obvious number [everyone's heard it at least once].

You're the Wish You Are I Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 23 May 2004 22:55 (11 years ago) Permalink

Oh, this Milhem Barkat tape has some fantastic songs on it. There is so much going on rhythmically in this music (Lebanese party tunes, you could say) and it's still pretty much under our radar in the west. And this sort of thing hardly seems to turn up on CD.


I don't like it (the Dudley/Coleman thing). It starts off okay, but a lot of what they do rhythmically on that recording is kind of weak compared to what is possible using Arab rhythms (to repeat myself). Also, they draw excessively on the biggest cliches of the big Egyptian string section sound. I like the way the album starts off, but by the time it hits the "It could just go on forever" segment, the best part of it is over.

Atlas is interesting in spots, but I'm not into her.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 23 May 2004 23:01 (11 years ago) Permalink

Yeah [Dudley/Coleman]. It could have been a lot better, but I still enjoy it for what it is. The overuse of strings and predictably bland percussion are both indicative of Dudley at that period.

What did Coleman contribute? It just all sounds like Dudley's work to me.

You're the Wish You Are I Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 23 May 2004 23:04 (11 years ago) Permalink

I don't know, I just know his name is on it.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 23 May 2004 23:05 (11 years ago) Permalink

Bored at work, I find myself reading Robert Christgau's reviews online. I missed this CD. "I'm impressed by how modest virtuosity can be in a classical tradition that honors simplicity." Very nicely put. Actually, I like the whole review:

Iraqi Music in a Time of War

Last February, mild-mannered Iraqi matinee idol Kazem al-Sahir played a sparsely populated Beacon. His 17-piece orchestra was exotically anodyne to me, painfully nostalgic to the attendant Iraqis. But either way it was steeped in denial. Recorded April 5 at Manhattan's Sufi Books, with Baghdad under attack, this solo oud recital is the opposite. The conservatory-trained AlHaj is a Saddam torture victim who escaped in 1991. Yet he is appalled by the destruction of his homeland. And yet again he betrays no rage: however uninspired as "concepts," the "compassion, love, and peace" he preaches are courageous as music. With little knowledge of oud or taste for classical guitar, I'm struck by how unexotic he seems—how his sound, melodicism, and note values bridge East and West while remaining Iraqi. I'm impressed by how modest virtuosity can be in a classical tradition that honors simplicity. And I'm drawn in by the historical context, which implicates me in that tradition. B PLUS

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 25 May 2004 18:53 (11 years ago) Permalink

Okay, finally bought some Nazem al-Ghazali: Best of, Vol.1. His mawawal (that relatively meter-free improvisation often used as the introduction to a song) is (are?) amazing.

The audio quality is poor, but it's good enough for me. I like the sound of the instrumentalists accompanying him. This music avoids some of the excesses of the old Egyptian popular music arrangments. I like the fact that there is practically always a guttering ney playing along the lines he is singing. (As I typed that, the ney and just about everything else dropped away to make room for a kanun solo. I like that too.)

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Thursday, 27 May 2004 23:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

For the most part I've never been able to get into Majida al-Roumi.

I have yet to get any response to this, so I'm posting it again, because I think it's some premium stuff:

degrading the enemy narrative (_Rudipherous_), Friday, 25 March 2011 17:55 (5 years ago) Permalink

from Morocco

curmudgeon, Monday, 4 April 2011 03:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Thanks, that last track has some freshness to it (I like the backing vocals in particular), to my ears anyway. I don't keep up with North Africa. Also, that accompanying photo is great. Most of the vinyl on the look looks to be Warda albums.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 25 June 2011 16:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

I am expecting changes in the popular music in the Arab world proper in the next decade. Something has to shift with so much social and political upheaval, I think, especially since Egypt is part of that political change (since Egypt tends to set musical trends for the Arab world in general).

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 25 June 2011 16:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

The Afropop Worldwide website and podcast folks (writer Banning Eyre and others) are heading off to Egypt shortly to research and do a focus on Egyptian sounds. While his background is more in Malian and other African countries that are not quite North African, hopefully they will prepare some interesting coverage

curmudgeon, Monday, 27 June 2011 13:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

The NY Times and this Seattle paper (see below) love the new ECM label album Arco Irisfrom Moroccan vocalist Amina Alaoui who performs old Andalusian compositions here. I haven't heard it but I am intrigued. Ilxer Sanpaku liked the Jon Balke & Amina Alaoui album Siwan that came out on ECM a year or 2 back.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 July 2011 14:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

I see from her world music central dot org bio that she is a prominent exponent of the ancient music style gharnati and has worked with musicians from medieval, Persian, and flamenco musical backgrounds. Gharnati (Arabic for Granada), the bio says, is one of the major Andalusian musical styles, migrated from Granada, Spain, to Morocco in the 15th century.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 July 2011 14:16 (4 years ago) Permalink

Still need to listen to her.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 7 July 2011 19:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

Briefly listened to Amina Alaoui. Wow, what a voice. Interestingly, it kind of reminds me in its somber voice-only mode on the first cut of some Jewish cantors and vocalists I have heard over the years. Other songs feature oud and flamenco guitar and more. Woefully few reviews online of the album so far.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 July 2011 15:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

I wonder if Rudiph likes her or would if he heard her?

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 July 2011 16:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

Met a guy who plays in some Arabic orchestra in NYC. May try to go to free show in Damrosch Park.

Twenty Flight Rickroll (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 July 2011 16:22 (4 years ago) Permalink


Some of the Amina Alaoui album is a little too samey--melancholy nearly fado-like vocals and minimalist flamenco guitar strumming, but on other cuts her voice is exquisite and the instrumental work just lively enough.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 14 July 2011 13:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

I see that Banning Eyre liked Amina Alaoui on NPR

curmudgeon, Saturday, 16 July 2011 13:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

Someone e-mailed me the below but I can't find anything on youtube or elsewhere about the performers-

Flamenco Compas, brother and sister dancers from the Salman family of Damascus,Syria

will be performing at :

the Black Fox Lounge, downstairs, 1723 Conn Ave nw, just north of Dupont Circle.

Wednesday July 20 th 9pm
Also on stage are Torcuato Zamora on guitar, Joe Darensbosurg singing and Steve Bloom on cajon! Dancer Audrey Elizabeth joins in Zambra.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 19:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

Not the sort of thing I had in mind when starting this thread, but this is pretty good:

Decent vocals for "alternative rock."

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 31 July 2011 15:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

That's how I see them described anyway.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 31 July 2011 15:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

More rocking, not so slow-paced:

I do get the sense from what little I've read (which is mostly Wikipedia and youtube comments) that the interest here mostly revolves around the lyrics.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 31 July 2011 15:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

Show this show back in June. Just saw this youtube video and thought it might be up your street, _Rudipherous_:

Scharlach Sometimes (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 9 August 2011 17:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm still liking the 2011 Amina Alaoui album even if sometimes she sound like she's in need of anti-depressants

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

This is not bad. The synth squiggles seem very Arabic to me, playing off much more mainstream sorts of Arabic music, but maybe from a while back. This is kind of trip-hoppy, if you're wondering whether or not to click on it:

Cal Jeddah (_Rudipherous_), Wednesday, 26 October 2011 05:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

The multi-volume Best of Oldies series on Spotify is recommended. The emphasis is on khaleeji, with occasional surprises from outside the Gulf.

John Gaw Meme (_Rudipherous_), Saturday, 21 January 2012 17:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Search (on Spotify): Hanan - Rayka

one of my favorite new sound (or as I used to call it "clap clap") songs. Now quite dated sounding, of course, though new sound was born a bit dated sounding. I particularly like the false start. The opening sounds like a very cheap attempt at a Philly Sound soul hit from the 70s.

I could make a playlist, but listening is too unfocused and unvaried to work on something like that these days.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 10 March 2012 20:30 (4 years ago) Permalink

I always imagine a video for some of these songs with little clapping hand-puppet "Arabs."

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 10 March 2012 20:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 2 June 2012 20:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

I don't know if I've linked to this one before, but this is great. However, this is from around the same era as another song I am still hoping to find, with spring-time electric guitar.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 15 June 2012 22:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

Nice voice and nicely mixed instrumentation. The dancing is so folky. So she's Lebanese but first had success in Jordan, if the bio I read is correct.

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 June 2012 23:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

I have not listened to these NPR news reports or the mix of Arabic and Western (but heard there) songs on the playlist

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 June 2012 23:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

I suggested that perhaps Umm Kathoum was the Bruce Springsteen of classic Egyptian music. This proposal was neither accepted nor rejected.

Bruce Springsteen? Way to insult the woman. (From that NPR link.) Bruce Springsteen?


I was sitting in a library Friday, attempting to rip cassettes to music CDRs. I only came away with one, unfortunately, so I'll have to try to figure out what is causing things not to take. However, sitting there listening to some of my favorite music with head phones, I was often swept away. Isn't ecstasy what I most want from music, most of the time?

It seems "my music" (as in my favorite music, the music that matters to me most) is scattered around the world like fragments of the divine in a Kabbalistic universe.

What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross.

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 24 December 2012 17:27 (3 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...
2 months pass...

still need to check out youtubes of Sadat and others identified with "mahraganat"

curmudgeon, Monday, 8 July 2013 13:51 (2 years ago) Permalink


curmudgeon, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 04:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

When I read about some music, it always sounds more exciting than when I finally hear it. Oh well.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 9 July 2013 14:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tues., Aug. 6
Eisenhower Theater of the Kennedy Center 6 pm El Gusto, an Algerian orchestra consisting of the students of the first music class led by the founder of chaabi music—El Anka, reunites after 50 years of separation for a U.S. tour that will invite Americans into the world of chaabi music, the passion and soul of the Algerian Casbah.

Kennedy Center press release

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 July 2013 18:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Chaabi Checker!

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 19 July 2013 18:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ha ha

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 July 2013 18:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

It doesn't all sound like that though Curmudgeon, it's pretty varied.

Check this mix Joost from Incubate in his Cairo Liberation Front guise did for us.

Also you might enjoy new wave Chaabi better than the electro 'Chaa3i' stuff.

Islam Chipsy for example:

Doran, Friday, 19 July 2013 20:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

RIP Warda, 1939-2012. I'm a little sad I'm only finding out now that she is deceased. For old school singers dressed in "new sound" (c. the 90s I think) wrappings, this works fairly well:

An excerpt from Esmaouni (music by Baligh Hamdi, to whom she was married for a time). Picks up a bit after about two minutes, if anyone gets impatient:

There was a time when I played her songs nearly every day.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 12 October 2013 16:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

a strong voice. I like this style too

curmudgeon, Sunday, 13 October 2013 23:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm usually reticent about posting my stuff on ILX unless I think the piece is so marginal that it might be of interest to certain people. I hope this is one of those pieces.

Remembering Syria: Mark Gergis Of Sublime Frequencies interviewed about dabke, choubi and how the Middle East is viewed in the West

Doran, Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks. Interesting

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 October 2013 15:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Haven't heard this, but here's a pr email excerpt

Sound: the Encounter (December 2013 Tour: NYC, Washington DC and Houston TX dates) brings together adventurous musicians from Iran and Syria who seek to reassemble diverse expressions of a shared musical heritage in contemporary forms. The result is a collection of newly-developed and arranged musical pieces inspired by the millennium-old musical legacy of the ancient Silk Route that are rooted in classical and folk traditional musical forms and re-imagined within a new artistic frame.

Ancient instruments (bagpipes, flutes and drums) take on new contemporary identities in the hands of award-winning Syrian composer and saxophonist Basel Rajoub, acclaimed Iranian musician and dancer Saeid Shanbezadeh, and up-and-coming Iranian virtuoso percussionist Naghib Shanbezadeh

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Great old brooding Saleh Abdul Gafoor song:

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 23 December 2013 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

10 months pass... Can anyone tell me the what the music is in this clip?

Spaceport Leuchars (dowd), Thursday, 23 October 2014 01:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

Curious about what this was now... can you repost a working link?

Doran, Thursday, 23 October 2014 18:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

it was this (it was on a video of some kids driving in odd ways, but that seems to have vanished)

Spaceport Leuchars (dowd), Thursday, 23 October 2014 18:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

here it is...

محمد فهد <- Apparently the singer is Mohamed Fahd

Spaceport Leuchars (dowd), Thursday, 23 October 2014 18:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

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