Words, Words, Words

  Words Words Words a MARSM organised event featuring Palestinian artists billed as a celebration of "the power of words and meaning," took place this Friday at Richmix. The performers were two spoken word artists, Farah Chamma and Dana Dajani, and musician Jowan Safadi, making his UK debut. Rafeef Ziadah, herself a spoken-word artist, was going to host … Continue reading Words, Words, Words

Mahragan Music

Listening to Cairokee's Keif (Fix) recently, I was reminded to look up another crowdfunded project from a couple of years ago -- this one on Mahragan music and dance.    The project was first put up on the site back in 2014, the idea being to make a documentary on the Mahragan movement, focusing on the … Continue reading Mahragan Music

On the Use of English in Arab(ic) Music

Ahdaf Soueif once said that “the use of English by Arab authors is expanding at a faster rate than the use of French." I haven't seen any empirical evidence for this, but it seems likely -- or if not exactly faster than French, than at least at an equal rate. Watching 47soul’s recent release “Raf Etair” … Continue reading On the Use of English in Arab(ic) Music

Egyptian Arts Festival D-Caf (March 31- April 22)

D-Caf (Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival)  returns for its fifth edition on March 31 running until April 22. "Egypt’s only international multi-disciplinary contemporary arts festival," D-CAF has everything from literature readings to concerts, to film and theatre, comedy stand up and a puppet show. Dina El Wedidi and Khansa Batma open the show with a concert at Horreya Garden. … Continue reading Egyptian Arts Festival D-Caf (March 31- April 22)

Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Re:Orient in Stockholm, which arranges cultural events focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, is celebrating Music Freedom Day as well as International Women's Day  with their week long Revolutionary Voices program from March 2-8. The program includes documentary screenings, a couple of panels and a concert, featuring Rim Banna, Tania Saleh, Dina … Continue reading Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Alif and Jerusalem In My Heart: A Review Round Up

Alif's debut album Aynama-Rtama (Wherever It Falls) and Jerusalem In My Heart's second album, Lau Mat, Lau Lau Lau Lau (If He Dies, If If If If If) have been received positive, not to say glowing, reviews. Here's a round up. On Lau Mat, Lau Lau Lau Lau: Beginning with 'Al Affaq, Lau Mat, Lau … Continue reading Alif and Jerusalem In My Heart: A Review Round Up

Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music

Al-Bustan project “Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music” will premiere two new compositions by Arab-American composers Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach to be presented on December 5, 2015. The project brings together a classical Arab ensemble (Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble) and a Western choir (The Crossing), and will feature Palestinian singer Dalal Abu Amneh. There are a series of related events leading up to the concert, which include a talk … Continue reading Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music

Haflah! Arabic Music in the Diaspora

On September 19, the National Arab Orchestra will perform at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit, with special guest composers Kareem Roustom and Wael Binali. The NAO (which used to be called the Michigan Arab Orchestra) has for a while now been one of the best Arab orchestras in North America, along with the New … Continue reading Haflah! Arabic Music in the Diaspora

Music Without Structure: Weaving and Layering “Real Sounds”

In a recent Diagonal Culture article on MidEast Tunes, a website with over 7000 songs available for free streaming, Jose Rodríguez quotes Esra'a Al Shafei, the founder, who explains that the project was intended "to promote, through music, constructive discourse about the region." Thus, the name: MidEast Tunes for Social Change. In his article, Rodríguez singles out Checkpoint 303 and their use of  the "real sounds of … Continue reading Music Without Structure: Weaving and Layering “Real Sounds”

Palestine/Israel, Music and Photography at Aspen

Palestinian Violinist Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar speaks about his initiative Polyphony at a panel about the Middle East and Art at Aspen, alongside French photographer Frédéric Brenner who spoke about his project Diaspora and his book This Place (You can see a longer presentation on the book entitled Israel through 12 lenses). The third person on the panel was Dutch composer  Merlijn Twaalfhoven who spoke about his … Continue reading Palestine/Israel, Music and Photography at Aspen

Alif’s Debut Album

Electronic Intifada describes Alif as "a kind of alternative Arabic supergroup." CairoScene calls them "A motley crew of the Arab world best loved underground musicians." Both agree that their debut album, Aynama-Rtama, is very, very good - as would be expected from a group comprised of Khyam Allami, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Khaled Yassine, Bashar Farran and Maurice Louca. There … Continue reading Alif’s Debut Album

Sonia Mbarek’s Maghrebi Network

Renowned Tunisian vocalist Sonia M'Barek, who earlier this month performed at French Institute Alliance Française in Manhattan, has spoken of her Wajd project and plans for collaboration with other Maghreb artists. Sonia expressed her desire to participate in work that joins Arab artists mainly from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. She also suggested the idea of creating a great network … Continue reading Sonia Mbarek’s Maghrebi Network

{De} Perception: Live Art and Music

On May 29, at the the Painted Bride Art Cente in Philadelphia, two Syrian-born artists, Ayman Alalao and Kinan Abou-afach, will be part of a "non-linear storytelling" performance, which involves linking music and visuals to illustrate themes of Arab history and heritage. Here is a preview: Kinan Abou-afach has been involved in other collaborations between musicians and visual artists, such … Continue reading {De} Perception: Live Art and Music

Ibrahim Maalouf To Release New Album “Kalthoum”

Nate Chinen reviews French-Lebanese trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf's Kalthoum performance in this New York Times article, in which Maalouf "paid tribute to one of the Arab world’s most beloved singers, Oum Kalthoum." Apparently, Maalouf is set to release a new album, Kalthoum, later this year. Mr. Maalouf, born in Beirut and now residing in … Continue reading Ibrahim Maalouf To Release New Album “Kalthoum”

Who Can Talk About Palestinian Misogyny?

Palestinian rap group Dam’s latest song “Who You Are,” featuring newest member Maysa Daw tackles misogyny and “make believe feminism.” As one of the groups members, Tamer Nafer, puts it: we need to “criticize the hypocritical part of our society, which likes to play ‘make believe feminism’ from time to time.” This is not the … Continue reading Who Can Talk About Palestinian Misogyny?

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2015

The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), now in its 14th year, runs from June 6-14 at venues across the city. This year performers include Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, composer of alternative Arabic music, Palestinian singer, musicologist and broadcaster, Reem Kelani, and a symposium event, entitled Shaping Change: Women, Culture, and Arts. Abu Ghazaleh also has an exclusive "preview" show on Friday 17th April. … Continue reading Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2015

Rising Star Mayssa Karaa

The National reviews rising star Mayssa Karaa's concept show, When Music Matters, performed at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Festival. The young Lebanese singer first rose to international fame with her Arabic rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, featured on the soundtrack of the film American Hustle. As Saeed Saeed puts it: the song … Continue reading Rising Star Mayssa Karaa

Souad Massi’s New Album El Mutakallimun

Algerian singer Suad Massi is releasing a new album, El Mutakallimun (translated as The Masters of the World) which reinterprets ten classic songs from around the Arab world, from "Sa'imtou", the Muallaqa of the 6th century poet Zuhayr Ibn Abi Salma, to poetry by Abu Kassem El Shabbi whose poem "The Will to Life" was made internationally famous by the Arab Spring.  El … Continue reading Souad Massi’s New Album El Mutakallimun

Palestinian Land Day

Yom Al Ard, the Palestinian Land Day commemorates the protests that took place on 30th of March 1976, against the government's decision to expropriate 20,000 acres in the Sakhneen area, for “security and settlement purposes.”  During the protests, six unarmed Palestinian citizens were killed.This year, the Land Day comes very soon after the Israeli elections, with Netanyahu's victory … Continue reading Palestinian Land Day

Elmaz Abinader and Tony Khalife at the Levantine Cultural Center

On the 28th of March, the  Levantine Cultural Center is hosting an evening of poetry and music with two Lebanese American artists: poet Elmaz Abinader & musician Tony Khalife. Abider will be reading from her new collection of poetry, This House, My Bones (2014). Abinader describes the collection as a "meditation" on history where "the body and the earth exchange their … Continue reading Elmaz Abinader and Tony Khalife at the Levantine Cultural Center