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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I find it very evocative of a canabis high.

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

four 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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

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

Khaled to thread!

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

two 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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

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

Shadi Jamil apparently performing in Aleppo:

LIVE NOW from Syria's Aleppo: Massive concert held at the Citadel Theater to celebrate the defeat of terrorism & the return of normal life.

— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) July 25, 2017

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 26 July 2017 01:11 (one year ago) Permalink

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 26 July 2017 15:01 (one year ago) Permalink

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 26 July 2017 15:43 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Christian Lebanese singer Julia Boutros pays tribute to Hassan Nasrallah:

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 16 December 2017 17:41 (one year ago) Permalink

(Not news, but felt like posting it and this performance is a little less over-the-top than the one I saw previously.)

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 16 December 2017 17:42 (one year ago) Permalink

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 16 December 2017 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink

this performance is a little less over-the-top than the one I saw previously

Also, the bouzouk solo at the beginning, though brief, is a nice touch.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 16 December 2017 20:47 (one year ago) Permalink

Notice the size of her audiences. I know about Arab music I don't necessarily talk about (and that does not otherwise get mentioned here). On the other hand, I am being honest when I say I don't really keep up with most of it.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 16 December 2017 21:59 (one year ago) Permalink

Speaking of not keeping up (and therefore not knowing stuff), yes, there is a much larger Arab indie scene becoming available to mostly internet- and Spotify-dependent western listeners like me than I remember being there not that long ago, but maybe I wasn't looking. Mostly realizing this after looking at the related artists for the most interesting Nadah El Shazly:

And check the Asmahan sample on this Psychaleppo track (for a moment I definitely recognized it without knowing what it was):

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 18 December 2017 16:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Have not noticed the Psychaleppo mentioned anywhere at all. I'm not sure it splits the difference between traditional Arab music and electronic music in a way I find completely satisfying, but I haven't even heard it all yet. I posted something by them a long time ago (but if I mentioned them by name I must have misspelled it).

_Rudipherous_, Monday, 18 December 2017 16:45 (one year ago) Permalink

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 21 December 2017 17:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Sanpaku nominated this for our poll, and I have to admit I didn't know it existed, and in fact had lost track of what Mar-Khalife has been doing.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 December 2017 03:35 (one year ago) Permalink

This is the Asmahan song extensively sampled in the Hello PsychAleppo song above:

From what I gather (from interviews and articles here and there), he is drawing a parallel between his own existence as a Syrian in exile, or as a Syrian refugee.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 23 December 2017 01:11 (one year ago) Permalink

She was a Druze princess! I never get tired of bringing that up.

_Rudipherous_, Saturday, 23 December 2017 02:40 (one year ago) Permalink

The results of Hello Aleppo's manipulation of the Asmahan sample, in Anqa, at times have a curious resemblance to the beginning of Circuit des Yeux's "Paper Bag," which I am just hearing for the first time (and about which, I found myself thinking: wait, I've heard this before):

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 24 December 2017 17:25 (one year ago) Permalink

Please stop comparing Nadeh El Shazly to Bjork. El Shazly's vocal ornamentation is generally rooted in classical Arabic singing.

I still haven't done a very good job at all of describing her album. That inadequate label "experimental" definitely fits (inadequately). Electronics, collage, somewhat free form jazz. But sometimes perfectly familiar Arab rhythms, melodies, timbres. And generally her vocals are within that tradition.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 24 December 2017 18:17 (one year ago) Permalink

Please stop comparing Nadeh El Shazly to Bjork.


_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 24 December 2017 18:18 (one year ago) Permalink

Maybe this is Morse (c)ode from the Zeitgeist.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 24 December 2017 18:52 (one year ago) Permalink

"Please stop comparing Nadeh El Shazly female singers to Bjork."

Doran, Sunday, 24 December 2017 19:23 (one year ago) Permalink

There was a new Mohammed Assaf album in 2017. Just discovered it. So far it sounds nothing like him and I am not impressed.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 00:51 (one year ago) Permalink

There's a track with Gente de Zona. Yes, a collaboration with a washed up Cubaton act. (Maybe they aren't washed up. I can't tell the difference when it comes to cubaton.)

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:01 (one year ago) Permalink

It sounds slightly edgy for 2002.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:02 (one year ago) Permalink

Was trying to whistle this, coming out of the work parking structure this morning:

I can completely relate to it while laughing at the same time.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 12 January 2018 01:01 (one year ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Old school Arab mp3 (well, rar) blog:

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 16:31 (one year ago) Permalink

That's great, thanks!

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 21:04 (one year ago) Permalink

You're welcome. I bookmarked it a couple years back but have hardly looked at it (not sure why). I accidentally let Windows set my default for .rar's to Adobe Acrobat and now I can't make it let me set a sane default. (I swear this was all much easier a decade ago.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 21:13 (one year ago) Permalink

If you've more of these links I'm def up for it. Iran suspiciously absent form the blog!

(Does this help with your file association problem?)

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 21:18 (one year ago) Permalink

I'll look at that when I am back at my home PC.

I'm not sure if you're joking about Iran.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 21:54 (one year ago) Permalink

In the right pane there's a list of countries (and regions) he covers:

ALGERIA الجزائر
ARMENIA أرمينيا
EURABIA أورابيا
IRAQ العراق
JORDAN الأردن
MOROCCO المغرب.
SAUDI ARABIA العربية السعودية
SYRIA سوريا

Was legit surprised Iran doesn't feature.

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:05 (one year ago) Permalink

But Iran doesn't fall under the Arab category though, either linguistically or ethnically. They never became Arabized by conquest, that I know of. If so, it didn't last long. Turkey is not there either. Granted, he does throw in Armenia, but probably because they are an important minority in Syria and Lebanon.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:19 (one year ago) Permalink

(Well, they did mostly convert to Islam, so I guess that's an Arabization of sorts, but they've maintained a strongly distinct Persian culture.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Some people like Partisan Girl make a case against using "Arab" to apply to most of the people it's even applied to but there's still more reason to apply it where it is applied than to apply it to Iran just because of Arab conquest a long time ago (that didn't defeat a distinct sense of Persian identity). I think I may start trying to use "Levantine" more, but I have trouble remembering what's included and what isn't.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:28 (one year ago) Permalink

Big parts of Iraq are way closer to Persian culture, in and language as well. Was hoping there'd be a Kurdish category tbh. Still good stuff.

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:30 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't think Iranian music is all that popular with Arabs though, in general. I agree though that Iraq is a pretty big outlier in certain ways, culturally. I don't really know too much about that though.

I still like this Diamanda Galas interview excerpt I've posted before:

DIAMANDA: Interestingly enough, since 9/11, a lot of people coming from the Middle East are saying there would be no blues if there were no muezzin singing, and I said, “Well, you know, the reason I won’t argue with that is that music comes from Byzantium, from the mixture of all these cultures in the Middle East, including Anatolia, Turkey, Greece.” Where did the music of Islam come from? Well, it came from the Arabs, originally. Who did the Arabs get it from? The Arabs took it from the Greeks. They all changed music together in that melting pot of the Black Sea and Egypt and Turkey; in all those Arab countries, there was this exchange of music. So you have this bending of the tones, and you don’t just have a five-note scale—what is that? All these taqsims and the makams, all these scales.

And that is what I hear when I listen to most interesting blues music, which I feel is from Somalia and Ethiopia right now, because they have to get up there and be really good qaraami singers—the improvised music of that whole part of the world—and then they have to be pop singers and blues singers, too. So they get up and they start the solo with the qaraami, then they go into the song, and they go back into the qaraami. The qaraami is sung by church singers also. But these are real singers—I hear it and I think about where the blues is, what the Americans have done to it since then, which is just: repeat.

ARTHUR: Though they seem to specialize in it, that overly reverent regard for musical genres’ classic forms—stylizing them till they petrify hard enough to put them up on museum shelves—is not an exclusively American problem.

DIAMANDA: But when people try to get into this ethnic purity thing, like with Wynton Marsalis or Stanley Crouch, it’s the same thing that people do when they think about Armenian music—“Well, this scale or sound here is probably Turkish.” And I say, “How do you know if it’s Turkish or not?”

ARTHUR: A lot of musical idioms and techniques do get called Turkish; Western music critics use “Turkish music” as a big umbrella term.

DIAMANDA: That’s what Turkish imperialism is. They are a very rich country—in between what they get from America and what they get from Israel, they do real good. They can afford to have plundered the Assyrians, the Kurdish, the Greeks, the Armenians and many Arabic cultures and call it Turkish. They have borrowed from everyone, and other cultures as well have taken from them. But there is no such thing as a united Turkish music. That is just a bunch of shit.

This whole thing about insults to Turkish people, in Turkey they put people in jail for it. If you say you’re Assyrian, that means you’re insulting Turkish people; if you speak Greek, that’s an insult to Turkishness. And still, those two cultures melted into music that is now called Turkish music. Anatolia was a huge area that was inhabited by many cultures, and now they call it Turkey. And they say it’s “The Land of the Turks”—only because they killed everybody else off that lived there before.

ARTHUR: Of course, modern Greek musicians frequently refuse to sing certain songs because they think the song’s roots are in Islam. But in reality, they don’t know where that song came from.

DIAMANDA: There are a lot of people who refuse to perform certain music because they think they’re performing music by the enemy tribe. And they’re not. It’s part of their own music. The Turks employed Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and Jews to compose music for the sultans. Then they called it “Turkish music.”

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:53 (one year ago) Permalink

I've read that some years ago. Diamanda otm obv.

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 22:58 (one year ago) Permalink

Old-school Iranian singers still come to the Washington DC area on tour (there's a large Iranian population in the Virginia suburbs of DC). Ebi was just here and Googoosh is coming back.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 18:16 (one year ago) Permalink

To repeat more or less the same point I was trying to make, in my limited experience, an awful lot of Arabs don't even necessarily listen to that broad a sampling of Arab music. Khaleeji music goes in and out of favor, but a lot of people in core Levantine countries don't really bother with it. So Iranian music is even further removed. And people in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan aren't necessarily listening to a lot of North African music. So it's really unsurprising to find no Iranian music on an Arab music blog (especially if it's run by an Arab).

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 18:31 (one year ago) Permalink

And the Kurds aren't particularly well-loved in much of the Levant either. Politics always plays into these things. Khaleeji music was becoming more popular outside the Gulf states before the first Gulf War, but that dropped off a lot in response to the Gulf War--or so I have been told. No data to back that up!

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 18:32 (one year ago) Permalink

There used to be a forum called Arian World or something like that, that I downloaded lots of Iranian music from, but it doesn't appear to be around any more.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:13 (one year ago) Permalink

I did glance at my bookmarks last night to see if I had anything helpful to offer, but I found lots of dead links.

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:14 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

That Nadah El Shazly album is absolutely incredible. I'm loving the encounter of Arabic classical vocals, free jazz and 'experimental' music (shitty descriptor, etc.). What else should I check out?

pomenitul, Monday, 9 April 2018 21:38 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Hear classic film music from the golden age of Arab cinema, the 1930s to the 1960s. Top composer-performers from Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria created music for the most popular films and theater in the Arab world. Simon Shaheen performs on the ‘ud (Arab lute) and violin, joined by the Syrian vocalist Nadia Raies and an ensemble with ney (Arab flute), qanun (Arab zither), cello, and percussion.

Saw this show for free tonight. Always pleasant, but it sounded even more than that on the 3 songs where Syrian vocalist (and current Berklee school of music student0 Nadia Raies sing with Shaheen on oud, the 3 violinists, the flute player, cello, percussionist and great young qanun player. Shaheen talked about the songs in between (they did some classic old film ones and some of his compositions that are inspired by old stuff)

curmudgeon, Friday, 22 June 2018 02:58 (eleven months ago) Permalink

With Rudiph gone (after his invective-filled meltdown) this thread has gotten much quieter

curmudgeon, Friday, 22 June 2018 13:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Habibi Funk Records, in Germany, was mentioned in other threads after they brought out this compilation of 1970s-1980s Arabic funk and jazz:



They released a radio session comp of Kamal Keila from Sudan (see Rolling Reissues 2018 ), and the latest one is a full album reissue, Jazz, Jazz, Jazz by the Sudanese band The Scorpions & Saif Abu Bakr, with bandleader Amir Sax:


"He told us stories about him meeting Jimmy Cliff and [Louis] Armstrong when they visited Sudan and how he and his band mates from The Scorpions played extensively in Kuwait, both in club residencies as well as for television. Amir brought tons of incredible photos illustrating not only the bands history but the vivid cultural live in the many music clubs in Khartoum of the 1970s. During this decade up until 1983 the capital was home to a huge number of clubs and concert halls. This scene started to perish after Nimeiry's turn towards the implementation of Sharia law in 1983. During the first decade of his rule he had actively supported various artists of the Jazz scene and was even taking artist like Kamal Keila along with him to trips throughout Africa. The 1989 coup of Bashir and his generals then caused the final blow to a once thriving scene." – (Jannis Stuerz, Habibi Funk)

sbahnhof, Sunday, 6 January 2019 06:20 (five months ago) Permalink

will try to check that out

curmudgeon, Monday, 7 January 2019 02:44 (five months ago) Permalink

Just be wary of the "jazz" title –

"To Western ears, the title Jazz, Jazz, Jazz will seem something of a red herring. This is music more pop-structured than typical jazz with the nine blood-raw recordings powered by an engine of funky organ work and upbeat guitar lines. Leading most arrangements by the hand are the powerful and striking brass sections." – (Dean Van Nguyen)

sbahnhof, Sunday, 13 January 2019 06:40 (five months ago) Permalink

Also this past year, the Gisma Group from northern Sudan appeared on a collaborative album in New Zealand, Haja.

The group play traditional wedding music in the style aghani al-banat, "girls' music", which is also associated with Alsarah from Alsarah & the Nubatones.

On the album, the Gisma Group are centre-stage on the tracks "Haja" and "Like the Moon". More of Gisma's songs are remixed into the other tracks featuring NZ musicians, in a kind of fusion. I like how it's turned out, though something about the remixing seems a bit 'off', not sure what...


sbahnhof, Sunday, 13 January 2019 06:42 (five months ago) Permalink

btw there's almost certainly an aghani al-banat rabbithole to go down. The group's leader, Gisma, studied under Hawa al-Tagtaga, who had a role in Sudanese history via her music.

"Born around 1924 in northern Kordofan, Hawa moved to the capital at the tender age of 14 years to begin the career of a popular performer and entertainer. Over the years, she became an icon of Sudanese womanhood and popular culture. Hawa made the Sudanese happy. She immortalized the key figures of the Sudanese anti-colonial movement in the simple ‘open access’ lyrics and tunes of the nas (common people), and earned a living from the dual function of dance instructor and singer at the weddings of the effendiya and the merchant class."
- (Archived)

But I can't find any of her early music online (only songs on low-budget TV shows)

sbahnhof, Sunday, 13 January 2019 06:43 (five months ago) Permalink

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